W Sahara negotiations fail in New York

2011-07-22 16:01

New York - An eighth session of UN-led informal negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front on the Western Sahara ended in failure on Thursday in a New York City suburb.

"Each party continued to reject the proposal of the other as the sole basis for future negotiations," said Christopher Ross, the UN envoy to the region.

Ross added that both parties expressed their continued "willingness to work together to reach a political solution in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations Security Council".

They also confirmed their intention to participate at a conference organised by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Madere, Portugal in September 2011.

The next informal meeting will take place after the UN General Assembly in September.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in late April for a one-year UN mission mandate in Western Sahara (Minurso) that will last until April 2012 and calls on Morocco and the Polisario to increase their negotiations.

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony annexed to Morocco in 1975.

Rabat is proposing significant autonomy for Western Sahara with a local government and a sovereign parliament.

The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, rejects the Moroccan plan and claims the people of Western Sahara have a right to self-determination through a referendum.