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Independence-seeking group urges UN guarantees for West Sahara referendum

The Polisario Front urges the UN Security Council to clarify the mission of the new UN envoy for Western Sahara and provide guarantees on a long-delayed referendum on the territory’s future.

The UN considers Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, a “non-self-governing territory,” with the question of its control up in the air for decades.

The issue has pitted Morocco against the independence-seeking Polisario Front, which is backed by Algeria. Rabat, which controls 80 percent of the vast desert territory and its rich Atlantic fisheries, has proposed a plan for Western Sahara self-governance under Moroccan sovereignty.

The Polisario continues to demand a UN-supervised self-determination referendum, which was agreed to in a 1991 ceasefire accord but has still never taken place.

The administration of former US president Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of a deal for the country to normalize ties with Israel late last year.

— with AP

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