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Algeria reaffirms support for self-determination of Western Sahara

Algeria reaffirms support for self-determination of Western Sahara

Morocco

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Saturday he supports UN efforts for a resumption of negotiations between Rabat and the Polisario Front to reach a solution based on self-determination of Western Sahara.

The vast territory populated by half a million inhabitants is a former Spanish colony controlled by Morocco.

Morocco proposes a wide autonomy under its sovereignty, while the Polisario, backed by Algeria, claims a self-determination referendum. UN mediation efforts have stalled.

Algeria will spare no effort to provide support to the UN Secretary General's proposal to revive direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario.

“Algeria will spare no effort to provide support to the UN Secretary General’s proposal to revive direct negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario,” wrote Mr Bouteflika in a message to the leader of the Polisario independence movement, Mohamed Abdelaziz, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

“Algeria recognizes the approach of the international community and the UN in particular, that consistently recommends a solution based on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara,” Bouteflika added.

The Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-moon is expected next week in North Africa for a tour devoted to the conflict of Western Sahara, but will not visit Morocco.

After stops in Burkina Faso and Mauritania, Ban will visit the Saharawi refugee camps of Tindouf on March 5. He will also visit the premises of the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), but not in its headquarters in Laayoune.

MINURSO has been present on the site since 1991 mainly to ensure compliance with the cease-fire between Morocco and Polisario.

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