quarta-feira, 25 de fevereiro de 2009

Western Sahara: "sincere desire" of the parties to continue dialogue

There is a "sincere desire" of Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue negotiations on the future of Western Sahara, said Wednesday in Algiers the new UN envoy for Western Sahara Christopher Ross, currently touring the region.

"This tour has allowed me to see a sincere desire to continue the process (the settlement of the conflict) and help me in my mission of both parties of the conflict (Morocco and Polisario Front) and from the neighbourhood countries", namely Algeria, told the press Mr. Ross, whose remarks were reported by the Algerian press agency APS.

"This first stage of my tour in the region allows me to hear clearly the positions and views," he added, before leaving Algiers, where he arrived Monday in connection with a tour intended to revive the negotiating process between Rabat and the Polisario Front.

Before Algiers, Ross had visited Morocco and the Sahraoui refugee camps in Tindouf (south west of Algeria).

The new UN envoy, appointed in January, said he would now travel to Madrid, Paris and Washington to "discuss with senior officials in the three capitals of the contribution they can make in the exercise of his mission.

Mr. Ross has also reported that in Algiers he had “frank and fruitful” talks with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci and the Minister Delegate for Maghreb and African Affairs Abdelkader Messahel.

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

The Polisario, supported by Algeria, on the other hand requires a referendum for self-determination in which independence would be one of the options.

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