Western Sahara referendum key to peace

Algiers - A referendum on the future of the disputed territory of Western Sahara holds the key to peace and stability in North Africa, the pro-independence Polisario Front said on Wednesday.

The former Spanish territory has been back in the spotlight after UN chief Ban Ki-moon angered Morocco by using the word "occupation" to describe its status.

"There will be no peace or stability in the region so long as the Sahrawi people are denied the right to self-determination," Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, a leader of the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, told a news conference in Algiers.

He said that Morocco "knows full well that the Sahrawi people will choose independence if a referendum is held".

"We are not Moroccans and we refuse to become Moroccans," he said.

The resources-rich Western Sahara is at the centre of a four-decade-old dispute.

Morocco considers the territory to be part of the kingdom and insists its sovereignty cannot be challenged.

The United Nations has been trying to broker a Western Sahara settlement since 1991 after a ceasefire was reached in a war between Rabat and the Polisario Front that broke out when Morocco deployed its military in the territory in 1975 after Spain's withdrawal.

A self-determination referendum was to have been held in 1992 but has been repeatedly called off.


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
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
33% - 4223 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
14% - 1860 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
53% - 6826 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.58
-2.1%
Rand - Pound
21.52
-3.6%
Rand - Euro
18.50
-3.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.97
-2.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-4.1%
Gold
1,802.70
+1.9%
Silver
22.75
+2.5%
Palladium
1,949.22
+3.3%
Platinum
1,046.00
+0.8%
Brent Crude
86.97
+3.1%
Top 40
68,868
+0.4%
All Share
75,020
+0.3%
Resource 10
75,989
+3.4%
Industrial 25
92,168
+1.8%
Financial 15
15,274
-7.4%
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