Western Sahara UN envoys continues consultations in the region

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11 February 2008The United Nations envoy for Western Sahara is continuing his in-depth consultations with the parties and neighbouring countries in the region ahead of the next round of scheduled talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario. Peter van Walsum, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, met Secretary General Mohamed Abdelaziz and other members of the Frente Polisario leadership in Rabouni on Saturday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.Those consultations followed meetings with senior Moroccan officials in the country’s capital, Rabat, late last week.Mr. van Walsum told journalists that he was in the region to listen to the views of both the parties and the neighbouring States, Algeria and Mauritania, on how to move into more substantial negotiations on how to provide for the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.He is scheduled to hold discussions later this week in Algiers and Nouakchott, the Algerian and Mauritanian capitals.Mr. van Walsum said that while the positions of the Moroccan Government and the Frente Polisario remain far apart, the two sides have reiterated their plans to participate in UN-brokered talks next month. Those talks will take place in Manhasset, New York, on 11-13 March.The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in the Territory since 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente Polisario.

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