UN defends Sahara trip

Rabat - Morocco has accused UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of "abandoning neutrality, objectivity and impartiality" during a recent visit to Western Saharan refugee camps in southern Algeria.

Morocco's Foreign Ministry has criticized Ban's trip in a statement, condemning the use of the term "occupation" in describing the territorial status of the Western Sahara.

The United Nations issued a response late on Wednesday, saying Ban referred to the "occupation" of the territory because of "the inability of Sahrawi refugees to return home under conditions that include satisfactory governance arrangements under which all Sahrawis can freely express their desires."

During his weekend visit, Ban expressed frustration over dire living conditions in the camps and called for renewed peace talks for the Western Sahara, annexed by Morocco in 1975.

Ban has announced plans for a donors' conference to address the Morocco situation.

Morocco expressed "regret" over the plans to organize the donor's conference, and said past international aid has been unfairly spent. The government statement on Tuesday also questioned why the UN chief didn't address concerns about rights violations in the Tindouf camps.

Ban also visited Algiers over the weekend, where he stated that there was "no real progress" in reaching a solution for the Western Sahara conflict.

While Ban's tour didn't take him to Morocco, the UN indicated there are plans for him to visit Morocco in the near future.

Morocco has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for the mineral-rich Western Sahara, but the Polisario Front insists on self-determination for the local population through a referendum.

The Polisario Front is seeking independence for the territory and currently controls the Tindouf refugee camps in southern Algeria. UN peacekeepers are monitoring a cease-fire brokered in 1991.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1869 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
50% - 8711 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
36% - 6387 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 624 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.42
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
19.85
-1.1%
Rand - Euro
16.74
-0.7%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.57
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.6%
Gold
1,781.19
-1.2%
Silver
20.30
-2.5%
Palladium
2,173.06
-2.4%
Platinum
937.19
-3.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
64,022
+0.0%
All Share
70,741
+0.0%
Resource 10
63,315
-1.1%
Industrial 25
86,967
+0.5%
Financial 15
16,154
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE