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UN Chief’s position on Western Sahara remains unchanged: spokesman

Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ position on the issue of Western Sahara remains unchanged despite Washington’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory, said his spokesman on Thursday.

“On the sovereignty issue, the Secretary-General’s position remains unchanged.

He remains convinced that a solution to the question of Western Sahara is possible, and that’s in accordance with relevant Security Council Resolutions 2440, 2548, to name two,” said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman.

The Secretary-General wants parties concerned to avoid any action that could further escalate tension in Western Sahara, he told a press briefing.

Israel and Morocco have made a deal to normalise diplomatic relations. As part of the deal, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the United States recognises Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory.

Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania at the end of Spain’s colonial rule in 1976.

When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy that sector and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory.

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Fighting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara. A cease-fire was signed in 1991.

The United Nations deployed a mission that year to monitor the cease-fire and to organise, if possible, a referendum on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

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