domingo, 22 de fevereiro de 2009

Discussions between Christopher Ross and the Polisario Front in Tindouf

The new UN special envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, began Saturday in Tindouf (south-western Algeria ) discussions with Sahraoui on the revival of negotiations with Morocco .

Mr. Ross has been received by the people and leaders in the Sahraoui refugee camps. Mr. Ross said he came to find a political acceptable solution to both parties ( Morocco and the Polisario Front), which would allow the Sahraoui people to determine their future.

Tindouf home for over thirty years some 165,000 Sahraoui refugees, according to official Sahraoui figures.

"After his meeting with citizens and officials, Mr. Ross has initiated discussions with the Sahraoui delegation engaged in negotiations with Morocco on the future of Western Sahara .

Ross must stay until Sunday evening to Tindouf, where he will hold talks with officials including the Sahraoui Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz, said Khedad Mhamed, official of the Polisario Front..

"We will tell Mr. Ross that it is time to hold a referendum on self-determination to give voice to the Sahraoui people to decide or choose between independence and integration with Morocco," said Mr. Khedad.

Mr. Ross, who then must go to Algiers , began his visit Wednesday in the area from Rabat where he met King Mohamed VI..

Former Spanish colony rich in phosphates, Western Sahara was annexed in 1975 by Morocco , which offers a wide autonomy under its sovereignty, rejecting any independence.

The Polisario front,the legal representative of the Saharawi people requires a referendum for self-determination in which independence would be one of the options.

Before the tour of Mr. Ross, UN officials have cautioned against too high expectations, explaining that it was simply to assess the chances of a resumption of the negotiating process of Manhasset, launched near New York in June 2007 between Morocco and the Polisario, under the auspices of the United Nations.

Four rounds of negotiations have already taken place, but without progress. A new round of talks is scheduled for an unspecified date.

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