Morocco welcomes UN resolution on Western Sahara

RABAT- Morocco welcomed Tuesday a UN resolution on the disputed Western Sahara as confirming that negotiations should focus on autonomy for the region and not outright independence.
"Resolution 1920 (...) fits perfectly the Moroccan vision and approach," Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri told AFP.
The resolution, adopted by the UN Security Council last Friday, "confirms the fundamental objective ... is intensive and substantive negotiations based on the preeminence of the Moroccan initiative on autonomy," he added.

The resolution extended the UN mission (MINURSO) in the Moroccan-controlled territory, which was set to expire.
But in a victory for Morocco, which annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975, the text makes no mention of any explicit mechanism to monitor allegations of human rights violations, as sought by some council members.
The Polisario Front, which seeks Western Sahara's independence, has condemned the UN Security Council for not including human rights in the resolution.
Polisario had pushed for the MINURSO mandate to be amended to allow it to monitor human rights in the territory.
Established in 1991, MINURSO currently fields 224 uniformed personnel and 276 civilians.
Morocco's 1975 annexation of the territory sparked a war between its forces and Algerian-backed Polisario guerrillas. The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1991 but the UN-sponsored talks on Western Sahara's future have since made no headway.
Rabat has pledged to grant Western Sahara widespread autonomy but rules out independence. The Polisario Front wants a referendum on self-determination, with independence as one of the options.

Tuesday, May 4th 2010

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