No breakthrough in W. Sahara talks but to meet again

Two days of talks on the future of Western Sahara between Morocco and the territory's independence movement ended on Saturday with no breakthrough in the 32-year-old dispute, but agreement to meet again.

No breakthrough in W. Sahara talks but to meet again
Two days of talks on the future of Western Sahara between Morocco and the territory's independence movement ended on Saturday with no breakthrough in the 32-year-old dispute, but agreement to meet again.

The talks centered on whether, as Rabat proposes, the territory should be an autonomous part of Morocco, which annexed it in 1975, or have its fate decided in a referendum with the option of independence, as the Polisario Front wants.

The UN-mediated negotiations at Manhasset, near New York, were the second round since Morocco and Polisario submitted rival plans for the resource-rich former Spanish colony to the United Nations in April.

In a statement, UN mediator Peter van Walsum said the date and venue of the next round of talks remained to be decided. Earlier, Polisario's UN representative, Ahmed Boukhari, had said he expected them to be held in Europe later this year.

Morocco's delegation leader, Interior Minister Chakib Benmoussa, told a news conference his country preferred not to fix a time or place because elections that will bring a new government to power were approaching.

Van Walsum's brief statement described the talks as substantive, adding: "The parties acknowledge that the current status quo is unacceptable and they have agreed to continue these negotiations in good faith."

Morocco and the Polisario, based in neighboring Algeria, also issued statements paying lip-service to the negotiations, but with barbed comments that made clear the gulf that remained between them.


Reuters
Last Mod: 12 Ağustos 2007, 16:33
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