UN presses on with bid to restart Western Sahara talks

New York - The UN Security Council on Wednesday told the peace envoy for Western Sahara to press on with talks on relaunching negotiations to settle the dispute over the North African territory.

Horst Koehler met with the council behind closed doors to report on his meetings with representatives from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania as well as the Polisario Front seeking independence for Western Sahara.

Council members expressed "their full support" for Koehler's diplomatic efforts to "relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit," said the council president, Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom.

However, no date was announced for the resumption of formal talks on ending the dispute.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Koehler, a former German president, in August with a view to kick-start the peace process.

The last round of UN-brokered negotiations on a Western Sahara settlement were held in 2012.

The council "underscored the importance of maintaining constructive engagement" and said there should be no changes to the status of the buffer zone near Guerguerat, said Van Oosterom.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

Morocco has accused the Polisario Front of carrying out incursions in the buffer zone near Guerguerat, an area in southern Western Sahara near the Mauritanian border.

Morocco and the Polisario fought for control of Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat taking over the desert territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire in the former Spanish colony.

Rabat considers Western Sahara an integral part of the kingdom and proposes autonomy for the territory, but the Polisario Front insists on a UN referendum on independence.

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
Who do you think should accept responsibility for the dire state of Eskom’s power system?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Eskom’s current management must take the fall
4% - 176 votes
Previous bosses from Zuma years are to blame
32% - 1607 votes
Mantashe and govt have been asleep at the wheel
31% - 1541 votes
There are many culprits; it’s a complex situation
33% - 1645 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.34
-0.9%
Rand - Pound
21.28
-1.2%
Rand - Euro
18.29
-0.9%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.79
-1.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-1.1%
Gold
1,798.42
+0.5%
Silver
23.51
+1.9%
Palladium
1,963.16
+1.7%
Platinum
1,025.76
+1.6%
Brent Crude
76.15
-1.3%
Top 40
68,351
+0.1%
All Share
74,548
+0.1%
Resource 10
73,315
-0.7%
Industrial 25
92,605
+1.0%
Financial 15
15,401
-0.9%
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