UN chief deeply concerned over “tense situation” in Western Sahara

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN File Photo/Mark Garten

The UN Secretary-General has expressed concern over tension in Western Sahara.

Ban Ki-moon’s comments came in a statement issued on Sunday by his spokesperson.

Western Sahara is located on the north-west coast of Africa and is bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria.

The Territory was administered by Spain until 1976, and fighting later broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN chief expressed deep concern over what he described as the "tense situation" that has developed in the narrow Buffer Strip in the southwest of Western Sahara.

It lies between the Moroccan berm, a defensive sand wall, and the Mauritanian border.

Mr Ban said the situation resulted from what he called “changes in the status quo” and the introduction of armed units from Morocco and the Polisario in close proximity to each other.

The UN chief called on both parties to halt any action that alters the status quo and to withdraw armed elements to prevent any further escalation.

This would also allow the UN mission there, known as MINURSO, to hold talks with both sides.

Mr Ban also reminded the parties of their obligations under a 1997 ceasefire agreement.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 53″

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