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UN to Host 2nd Roundtable on Sahara March 21-22

The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler, will convene the parties involved in the Sahara conflict for a second roundtable on March 21-22.

The second roundtable will take place in Geneva at the Palace of Nations, a source said.

High representatives from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and Polisario are expected to take part in the meeting.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, along with a delegation of Sahrawis, represented Morocco during the first roundtable, which took place on December 5-6 in Geneva.

The second roundtable is at the request of Kohler, who said that a solution to the Western Sahara conflict is possible.

Rabat rejects any solution other than autonomy under its sovereignty, emphasizing the need to preserve territorial integrity and stability in the region.

In January, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN Omar Hilale reiterated Morocco’s principles, saying that the autonomy plan is the only solution that Morocco can offer for the conflict.

The United Nations has not yet revealed the date of the second roundtable.

On March 6, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said that it would take place in the second half of March.

Before the first roundtable, a round of direct negotiations launched by the UN in March 2007 stalled due to disagreements between Morocco and Polisario.

Following the roundtable, the UN Security Council will convene on April 9 and 10 to consult on Western Sahara and the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, MINURSO, whose six month mandate will end on April 30.

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