Reaction to Baker's resignation

15 June 2004
The Algerian foreign affairs ministry issued a statement on 13 June praising US diplomat James Baker, who resigned the previous day as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's personal envoy to Western Sahara.

'His high qualities of loyal negotiator and his perseverance were illustrated by the peace plan for the Sahraoui people's self-determination, backed unanimously by the UN Security Council as the optimal political solution,' the statement said. 'It belongs to the United Nations to maintain the dynamics set by the peace plan and to continue the efforts for its implementation.' The statement reasserted Algeria's continued backing for UN efforts in settling the issue of self-determination of the Sahraoui people.

The official UN envoy for Western Sahara, Alvaro de Soto, will take over Baker's work, according to a UN official.

The Sahraoui foreign affairs ministry called Baker's resignation a 'serious setback for the UN efforts to complete the decolonisation process in the last colony in Africa.' Quoted by Sahraoui news agency SPS, the ministry saw the resignation as 'the pure expression of the US diplomat's indignation at the Moroccan regime's intransigent attitude'.

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