UN-led talks on Western Sahara wind up with vow to resume in August

19 June 2007 – United Nations-sponsored talks on Western Sahara between Morocco and the Frente Polisario – along with neighbours Algeria and Mauritania – concluded today outside New York with the parties promising to resume the negotiations again in August.

“Representatives of the parties and the neighbouring countries met all day yesterday,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas said, providing an update on the talks, which were held at the Greentree Estate in Manhasset at the invitation of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and facilitated by his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Peter van Walsum.

In a communiqué issued today after the talks, Mr. van Walsum said the parties had agreed to continue their negotiations in Manhasset in the second week of August.

At the outset of the two-day meeting yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe urged the parties to proceed in good faith, and expressed the Organization’s commitment to assist in the negotiations.

Stressing that the stalemate was becoming intolerable, Mr. Pascoe said the dispute over Western Sahara must be brought to a conclusion through “a mutually agreed solution that will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

This week’s talks took place after a request from the Security Council in its latest resolution on Western Sahara that Morocco and the Frente Polisario enter into negotiations without preconditions. The Secretary-General will report to the Council by 30 June on the status and progress of negotiations.

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