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article imageFormer German president to be named UN envoy for W. Sahara

By AFP     Jun 2, 2017 in World

Former German president Horst Koehler will be appointed new UN envoy for Western Sahara, tasked with restarting talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, according to a letter released Friday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed the Security Council of his decision to appoint Koehler last week and no objections were raised to the appointment.

Koehler, 74, will take over from American Dennis Ross who resigned last month following years of tensions with Morocco over the fate of the disputed territory.

A trained economist and former banking executive, Koehler was German head of state from 2004 to 2010 and previously served as head of the International Monetary Fund and as president of the European bank for reconstruction and development.

The Security Council in April adopted a resolution calling on Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario to show political will and work to resume negotiations that stalled in 2012.

Morocco and the Polisario fought for control of Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, when Rabat took over the desert territory before the signing of a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Rabat, which considers Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco, proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory, but the Polisario Front insists on a UN referendum on independence.

More about Morocco, wsahara, Conflict, Un, Germany
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