The United Nations Security Council has backed attempts to restart talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement over the Western Sahara conflict, extending its peacekeeping mission for another and noting the need for more support for Sahrawi refugees who fled the conflict and have since lived in camps in the south of Algeria, Thomson Reuters Foundation News reported.
The resolution late on Friday came after the U.N. mission confirmed the Polisario had withdrawn troops from disputed territory’s Guerguerat area, where they faced off since last year with Moroccan forces. Rabat pulled back its forces earlier this year.
“This action should improve the prospects of creating an environment that will facilitate early implementation of Mr. Guterres’s determination to relaunch the negotiating process,” the U.N. spokesman said in a statement noting Morocco’s early pullback and confirming Polisario withdrawal.
The U.N. resolution, on Friday, extended the U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as MINURSO, until April 30, 2018 and called on the parties to show political will and to resume negotiations for a fifth round of talks.
It supported a “new dynamic and new spirit” to reach a mutually acceptable political solution.
The Security Council has also been split. France backs former colony Morocco, the United States was more cautious and Polisario’s self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was supported by former non-permanent members Venezuela and Angola.
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