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Western Sahara: UN announces next round of informal talks between the parties

Western Sahara: UN announces next round of informal talks between the parties

A MINURSO officer chats with a group of local Western Saharans
A new round of informal talks between the parties to the conflict over Western Sahara will take place in New York next week at the invitation of the United Nations envoy, according to a UN spokesperson.

Delegations representing the two parties -- Morocco and the Frente Polisario -- as well as the neighbouring states of Algeria and Mauritania, will gather in Long Island for two days of informal meetings on 8 and 9 November, UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told journalists

“Solving the conflict in Western Sahara remains a priority for the United Nations, and we hope that this next meeting will be productive and will help the parties to move beyond the impasse,” he said.

Next week’s informal talks, which build on previous gatherings in Austria in August 2009 and in New York in February of this year, are taking place at the invitation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, and with support from the Security Council.

In its resolution 1871 of 2009, the Security Council called on the parties to continue their dialogue under the auspices of the Secretary-General to achieve “a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

The United Nations has been involved in efforts towards a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the Frente Polisario after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended.

Morocco has presented a plan for autonomy while the position of the Frente Polisario is that the territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum on self-determination that includes independence as an option.