Intense efforts needed for solution favourable to Sahrawi people self-determination

UNITED NATIONS (US) – UN Secretary General UN Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged Morocco and the Polisario Front to "redouble efforts to negotiate a mutually acceptable political solution, which allows the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara."

"I reiterate my call to the parties ... to redouble efforts to negotiate a mutually acceptable political solution that allows self-determination for the people of Western Sahara," Ban wrote in a report sent Friday to UN Security Council in anticipation of the annual renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

"It's too early to say whether the new approach chosen" by UN Secretary General envoy Christopher Ross, "will yield fruit", he said, while stating, however, that "40 years after the beginning of the conflict ...,there is no reason to maintain the status quo."

Ban stressed that "the growing frustration among the Sahrawis and the expansion of criminal and extremist networks in the Sahel-Sahara region have increased risks to the stability and security of the region "noting that the settlement of the Sahrawi question "would reduce these risks."

The report, quoted by AFP, reiterated calls to "enhance cooperation" in the field of human rights, including by facilitating the visit of UN experts on site.

MINURSO, whose mandate expires on 30 April, is now mainly responsible for monitoring a cease-fire agreement concluded in 1991.
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