FN-sändebudet missnöjd med Västsaharasamtalen

Skapad: 2008-02-15, Senast uppdaterad: 2009-03-11

UN envoy not satisfied with WSahara talks: report

Thu Feb 14, 2008, 3:09 PM ET

NOUAKCHOTT (AFP) - The UN special envoy for Western Sahara is not satisfied with the progress in talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement, the Mauritanian news agency (AMI) said on Thursday.

Peter van Walsum was in Mauritania as part of 10-day regional consultations which took him to Rabat, Tindouf, Algiers and Nouakchott, ahead of a fourth round of talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement due in March.

He said he was "unsatisfied" by the progress of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario, the news agency reported.

"I had come to sound out the opinions of different parties on the best ways to return to these talks, more effectively," he said, but AMI gave no further details.

The visit comes ahead of the fourth round of UN-sponsored talks between the parties planned in Manhasset, New York for March 11-13.

Earlier this month, Morocco and the Polisario ended their third round of talks in Manhasset, failing to bridge "strong differences" in their 32-year dispute over the Western Sahara.

Rabat has offered the territory broad autonomy but the Polisario demands a referendum with the option of full independence.

Morocco annexed the phosphate-rich, mainly desert Western Sahara in the 1970s following the withdrawal of colonial power Spain, sparking a war with the Polisario guerrillas.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire in 1991, but a promised self-determination referendum never materialized and since 2002 Rabat has insisted that holding such a plebiscite is no longer realistic.