26/02/2002
Press Release
SC/7307



PRESS STATEMENT ON WESTERN SAHARA BY PRESIDENT OF SECURITY COUNCIL


Following is the text of today’s statement on Western Sahara by the President of the Security Council, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser (Mexico):


Members of the Council heard a briefing on 26 February by Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.


Mr. Annabi presented to members of the Council the report of the Secretary General on the situation related to Western Sahara.


Members of the Security Council are considering the report, its contents and the recommendations and will continue to do so tomorrow in consultations with James Baker, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General.  After meeting with Mr. Baker, the Council members will be in a position to consider the draft resolution.


In the meantime, members of the Council expressed their concern regarding the humanitarian issues related to the situation in Western Sahara.  In this context they highlighted the following:


-- Members of the Council expressed their concern about the situation of prisoners of war and urged the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO) Front to release all prisoners of war.


-- Members of the Council expected progress on humanitarian issues related to refugees on the border. 


-- Members of the Council requested and urged the parties to avoid any action that can aggravate the situation;


-- Members of the Council requested the parties to ensure freedom of movement of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).


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