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Annan asks for MINURSO extension

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a two-month extension, to 30 April 2001, of the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

In a report to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Annan said he was requesting the extension to "see whether the government of Morocco is prepared to offer or support some devolution of governmental authority" to the inhabitants of the territory.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975. Since then, the Polisario Front has been fighting for independence for the former Spanish colony. The United Nations has been trying for years to resolve the dispute.

Annan reported that his personal envoy, James Baker III, had indicated that it was the last time that he would support a request for an extension of MINURSO's mandate so as to see if Morocco would give some degree of autonomy to the territory.

Annan said he shared the envoy's views.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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