The UN Security Council called for a revival of UN-led negotiations on the disputed Western Sahara in a resolution adopted Thursday that expressed “deep concern” at the breakdown of the 1991 ceasefire between Morocco and the seperatist Polisario Front whose decades-old dispute shows no sign of ending.
The vote was 13-0 with Russia and Kenya abstaining.
Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony believed to have considerable offshore oil deposits and mineral resources, in 1975, sparking a conflict with the Polisario Front.
The United Nations brokered the 1991 ceasefire and established a peacekeeping mission to monitor the truce and help prepare a referendum on the territory’s future that has never taken place because of disagreements on who is eligible to vote.
Morocco has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for Western Sahara. But the Polisario Front insists the local population, which it estimates at 350,000 to 500,000, has the right to a referendum.