Envoy of the UN for Western Sahara will meet with the parties at the end of June

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Horst KöhlerAFP.- The UN envoy for Western Sahara, former German President Horst Koehler, will meet again in late June with the parties in conflict to press for the resumption of peace negotiations, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.

According to one of these sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Koehler plans to meet with the Moroccan authorities on June 28 and 29 in Rabat. He should also travel to El Aaiun, in Western Sahara, to make contact with the blue helmets of the ceasefire observation mission (Minurso).

Another source said that the emissary should also go to Tindouf, where the Polisario Front is located, at the western end of Algeria, specifying that the precise dates of this trip have not yet been defined.

In a June 1st letter to the Security Council, the Polisario Front urged the UN to “organize direct negotiations” with Morocco “as soon as possible.” “The Polisario Front is ready to immediately resume direct negotiations with Morocco without preconditions and in good faith” to allow “its people to exercise their right to self-determination” to end the conflict, added the letter obtained by the AFP.

The last meetings of Koehler with the parties in the conflict of Western Sahara took place at the beginning of the year, in Berlin with the Polisario Front and in Lisbon with the Moroccan authorities.

Before the Security Council, the emissary promised to resume negotiations before the end of the year. The last round of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front dates back to 2008.

Western Sahara, a desert of 266,000 square kilometers, whose postcolonial status has not yet been resolved, is claimed by Morocco, which controls most of it, and by the Polisario Front, which calls for a referendum on self-determination.ce