segunda-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2009

UN envoy to Western Sahara asserts Saharawi right to self-determination

The United Nations new envoy to the Western Sahara on Sunday reasserted the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination, a stance that could further complicate negotiations with Morocco, which refuses any such solution to the long-standing conflict.

Christopher Ross said his main goal was to restart peace talks between Moroccans and the Polisario Front to end the conflict that has dragged on since Morocco annexed the desert territory in 1975.

Negotiations must tend to "a solution that includes the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination," Ross said in speech he read in Arabic to the Saharawi president-in-exile and an assembly of ministers and chiefs from the nomadic tribes that make up Western Sahara.

Talks between Morocco and the Polisario the legal representative of the saharawi people have stalled for nearly a year since Morocco backtracked on a U.N. plan for a referendum to determine Western Sahara’s future. Morocco wants negotiations to focus instead on its proposal for enlarged autonomy.