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UN chief calls for talks between Morocco and Polisario Front on Western Sahara

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday that he has asked his envoy for the disputed Western Sahara territory to meet the Polisario independence movement and Morocco to bring the two sides back to negotiations.

"I asked my special envoy Christopher Ross to resume his shuttle diplomacy to create the appropriate atmosphere for the resumption of talks," Ban said in Algiers, after visiting the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria’s Tindouf province.

The UN chief said that warring factions had failed to make "any progress towards a solution" to a conflict that has lasted 40 years.

Fighting broke out between the two parties after Morocco took most of Western Sahara in 1975 following the withdrawal of the colonial power Spain.

The Polisario Front, which says the territory belongs to ethnic Sahrawis, waged a guerrilla war until a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991. A UN mission was tasked with monitoring the ceasefire and organizing a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara, which the Security Council has been requesting since 2004.

Tens of thousands of refugees from Western Sahara live in refugee camps in Algeria, which were built when the fighting began.

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AfricaAlgeriaInternational OrganisationsMoroccoNewsUN
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