Algeria and UN discus Western Sahara

19 November 2003
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special representative for Western Sahara, Alvaro de Soto, arrived in Algiers on 18 November to hold talks with senior officials on the Western Sahara issue, announced a UN spokesman. His visit to Algeria is part of ongoing negotiations with the parties and neighbouring governments involved in the dispute over the territory. Soon after arriving in the capital, de Soto met Algerian Minister Delegate for Maghreb & African Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel. Before arriving in Algeria, de Soto held consultations with Moroccan officials in Rabat and spoke to the leadership of the pro-independence Polisario Front in Rabouni, said a UN spokesman. De Soto is expected to travel to the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, for the final leg of his tour.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 20 October told the government of Morocco that it should accept the peace plan for Western Sahara that was recommended by former US Secretary of State James Baker. The plan, which would make the territory a semi-autonomous part of Morocco for a four or five-year period, would allow residents of the Western Sahara to choose independence, continued semi-autonomy or integration with Morocco (MEED 7:11:03).

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