Western Sahara remains a worry: UN head

2015-04-11 08:45
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for a new push to resolve the conflict over Western Sahara and stressed that co-operation to address human rights could help find a settlement.

In a report to the Security Council, Ban said Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front must "seriously engage" with his envoy and "intensify their efforts" to end the conflict over the north African territory.

The secretary-general said allowing missions by UN human rights monitors to Western Sahara and refugee camps would help advance peace prospects by providing an "independent and impartial understanding of the human rights situation."

Peace mission

"It is vital that all human rights protection gaps and underlying human rights issues in situations of protracted conflict be addressed," Ban said in the report.

"This would also contribute to creating an environment conducive to the negotiating process."

Morocco took control of most of Western Sahara in November 1975 when Spain withdrew, prompting a guerrilla war for independence that lasted until 1991 when the United Nations brokered a ceasefire and sent in a peace mission.

Local Saharawi people are campaigning for the right to self-determination but Morocco considers the territory as a part of the kingdom.

Ban reported to the 15-member council after his envoy Christopher Ross made a regional visit - his first in a year - following tensions with Rabat over his mandate.

Shuttle diplomacy

Morocco accused Ross in 2012 of being partial in the dispute over the former Spanish colony but in late January said it was ready to support his mediation efforts.

Ross traveled to Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria as part of his tour, emphasising "the growing frustration in the refugee camps and the importance of an early solution," Ban said.

The envoy returned from his mission with the view that face-to-face discussions would be "premature" but that he would continue shuttle diplomacy to try to advance peace prospects, he added.


Read more on:    un  |  ban ki-moon  |  morocco  |  north africa  |  western sahara

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.