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Security Council extends UN mission

The UN Security Council approved on Tuesday a three-month extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the world body said. The mandate, which will run through to 31 October, was adopted unanimously.

“The Council took its decision with the expectation that Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO) would meet in direct talks,” the UN said.

As with previous recent talks, these are to be under the auspices of the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, James Baker III. The parties will try to resolve the problems relating to the implementation of the Settlement Plan for Western Sahara.

They failed to find common ground for settlement in their last meeting on 28 June, in London. The settlement plan calls for a referendum enabling the Sahrawi to decide between independence for the former Spanish colony or incorporation with Morocco. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has criticised both parties for their unwillingness to bridge the gap between their positions.

Council has asked him to provide an assessment of the situation before the end of the present mandate.

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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