Posted by: APO | 12 January 2008

Western Sahara UN-Brokered Peace Talks (Taken Question)

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 11, 2008

Western Sahara UN-Brokered Peace Talks (Taken Question)

Q: What is the Department of State’s reaction to the third round of the UN-brokered peace talks on the Western Sahara having ended with no agreement?

ANSWER: The troubling Western Sahara dispute has remained unresolved for far too long.

We had hoped the two parties would use this latest round to engage substantively on core issues. While none of the core issues were resolved, we understand the parties held lengthy discussions that included confidence-building measures. We welcome the decision by both parties to hold a fourth round of talks in Manhasset March 11-13.

The Security Council has unanimously passed two successive resolutions that call on both parties to engage in negotiations, without preconditions, toward a settlement of this dispute.

We believe the Moroccan proposal to provide real autonomy for the Western Sahara provides a serious and credible option, and we hope that the Polisario will engage in discussions on this proposal as a realistic starting point that could lead toward resolution of the dispute.

The Polisario has expressed a willingness to negotiate as a way to advance the interests of the Sahrawi people. Morocco has affirmed to the United Nations that its proposal is open for negotiation with the Polisario and would be subject to an up-or-down vote by the people affected.



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