UN set to renew Western Sahara force despite criticism

By REUTERS
April 23, 2012 09:49

 
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UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council has reached a deal on a draft resolution to renew the mandate of the peacekeeping force in the disputed territory of Western Sahara this week, envoys said, but the Polisario Front independence movement and South Africa are disappointed.

The renewal of the mandate of the peacekeeping force, known as MINURSO, marks an annual battle in the council between Morocco, backed by France, and African nations supporting Polisario.

The African countries have repeatedly called for UN peacekeepers to be given the task of monitoring alleged human rights abuses.

Morocco and France, its former colonial master, have resisted the idea that the peacekeepers should report on rights abuses in Western Sahara, a sparsely populated tract of desert that has phosphates, fisheries and, potentially, oil and gas.

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