Monday 24 July 2017

Polisario blames Morocco for UN W.Sahara envoy leaving

Polisario blames Morocco for UN W.Sahara envoy leaving
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Polisario blames Morocco for UN W.Sahara envoy leaving

An official from the Polisario Front fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara on Tuesday blamed Morocco for the resignation of a UN envoy to the disputed territory.

Christopher Ross quitting last week was a result of "Morocco blocking negotiations since 2012" on the future of the former Spanish colony, M'hamed Kheddad said.

Morocco insists that the Western Sahara is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Algeria-based Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination.

The two sides fought for control of the territory from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of it before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect.

Ross submitted his resignation after spending eight years trying to resolve the dispute.

An American who served as US ambassador to Algeria and Syria, he had been harshly criticised by Morocco who accused him of being pro-Polisario.

Morocco has not officially reacted to the news of Ross's resignation.

After then UN chief Ban Ki-moon last year used the term "occupation" to describe the status of Western Sahara, Morocco reacted with fury and expelled dozens of staff from the world body's MINURSO mission in the territory.

Kheddad on Tuesday also blamed the resignation on "the indifference of the Security Council over the expulsion of (MINURSO) staff".

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, declared by the Polisario in 1976, is a full member of the African Union.

Morocco left what was then the Organisation of African Unity in 1984 after the SADR was admitted, but was readmitted at an AU summit at the end of January.

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