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UN hosts meeting of regional envoys over Western Sahara

December 5, 2018
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Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita arrives for a round table on Western Sahara at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2018. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general’s envoy for Western Sahara is meeting with foreign ministers from Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania plus leaders of the Polisario Front over the future of the Morocco-annexed territory.

U.N. envoy Horst Koehler, a former German president, hosted a “round-table” discussion among the attendees at the first U.N.-hosted talks on the territory in six years, after meeting with them bilaterally earlier Wednesday.

The U.N. says the two-day meeting is a first step toward a renewed negotiations process aiming to “provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975 and fought the pro-independence Polisario Front until a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in 1991. Morocco has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for Western Sahara, while the Polisario Front wants a referendum on the territory’s future.

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