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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Notes to correspondents

Note to correspondents in response to questions on Western Sahara

New York, 9 March 2016

We have seen the statement of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The status of the Western Sahara territory remains to be decided, as it is a non-self-governing territory. All UN member States, including Morocco, agree with this in yearly General Assembly resolutions adopted without a vote. The Security Council has called on the UN to facilitate negotiations aiming at a “mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”. Clearly, the issue at stake is the final status of the territory.
Last Saturday, the Secretary-General personally witnessed a desperate situation in a Western Sahara refugee camp resulting from decades of life without hope in the harshest conditions. He stressed that the Sahrawi refugees deserve a better future.  He referred to “occupation” as related to the inability of Sahrawi refugees to return home under conditions that include satisfactory governance arrangements under which all Sahrawis can freely express their desires. The Secretary-General reiterated his call for genuine negotiations in good faith and without preconditions. The objective of restarting these negotiations in a more positive spirit is to provide hope to these people and enable them to return home.
Once again, the Secretary-General calls on the parties to seriously engage in negotiations.


Notes to correspondents on 9 March 2016