/ 12 February 2010

Western Sahara talks end with no breakthrough

Neither side in the Western Sahara stand-off budged during informal talks Thursday aimed at reviving negotiations to try to end the decades-long dispute between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front.

A special envoy for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the delegations ended two days of serious discussions in Westchester County, New York, without a breakthrough.

Christopher Ross said “neither side had accepted the proposal of the other as the sole basis of future negotiations”.

Representatives from neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania also were present.

Morocco and Mauritania split Western Sahara between them when Spanish colonisers left the territory in 1975, but a year later they went to war over it.

In 1979, Mauritania pulled out and Morocco took over the whole Western Sahara, but fighting continued until a 1991 truce. – Sapa-AP