Morocco orders 84 UN staffers to leave Western Sahara

New York - The United Nations says Morocco has ordered 84 international staff members in the UN peacekeeping mission for Western Sahara to leave within three days, in protest at comments by the UN secretary-general about the disputed territory.

The UN calls Morocco's order "unprecedented."

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Thursday called the order a unilateral action "in clear contradiction" of Morocco's international obligations and a challenge to the UN Security Council, which authorised the UN mission.

The mission is meant to monitor a 1991 cease-fire and help organize a referendum on Western Sahara's future. That has never taken place.

The council has a closed briefing on Thursday on Morocco's actions by the UN political chief.

Dujarric says UN peacekeeping officials are preparing for a number of options, including ending the mission.

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