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UN W. Sahara Mission Extended Through April 2008


Security Council extends UN's Western Sahara mission through April 2008

The Security Council today extended through next April the mandate of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), which has been in the Territory since 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council called on the parties "to continue to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to engage in substantive negotiations."

In a bid to break the impasse, the UN sponsored talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario in Manhasset, just outside New York, in June and again in August.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Western Sahara, said the two sides held mutually exclusive positions that prevented them from seriously discussing each other's proposal during the talks.

Morocco holds that its sovereignty over Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario's position is that the Territory's final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option.

The Secretary-General's report also recommended a six-month extension of MINURSO's mandate, set to expire today. In adopting that proposal, the Council called on the parties to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General "without preconditions and in good faith... with a view to achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations."

It also noted "the role and responsibilities of the parties in this respect."

ENDS

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