Security Council extends mandate of UN mission in Western Sahara until January

UN Security Council in session

28 October 2003 – The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), due to expire on Friday, until the end of next January.

The unanimous vote comes after Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked the Council earlier this month to give Morocco more time to consider a peace plan submitted in May by his Personal Envoy, James Baker, which calls for a referendum on the area’s future.

The plan was sent to representatives of all the parties involved, including Morocco, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front), Algeria and Mauritania.

It envisages a period of transition during which there would be a division of responsibilities between the parties before the holding of a referendum for self-determination within four or five years. Unlike an earlier proposal, the new peace plan does not require the consent of the parties at each step of its implementation.

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