UN Security Council votes to renew mission in disputed Western Sahara

The UN Security Council voted Friday in favour of extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission to the Western Sahara for a year, citing an "urgent need" to avoid hostilities in the disputed region.

Ten nations voted in favour of the resolution, while two voted against it. Three nations abstained, including veto-wielding Russia.

The resolution calls for the UN mission, known as MINURSO, to be restored to "full functionality" within 90 days. The mandate will extend to April 30, 2017.

Last month, Morocco ordered the UN to pull out most of the mission's international civilian staffers after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Morocco's control of the disputed region "occupation" during a recent visit to a camp of refugees from Western Sahara in Algeria.

The UN has been unable to mediate a solution for the long-standing dispute over Western Sahara, which began in 1975 with Morocco's takeover of the region after Spain's withdrawal.

"MINURSO plays an indispensable role in preserving and ensuring safety and security in Western Sahara and must continue to do so until a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution – which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara – is achieved," said Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, after the resolution was passed.

Last update: Fri, 29/04/2016 - 21:28

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