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

More from World

Trump stands by unsubstantiated claim that millions voted illegally

Donald Trump stands by his belief that millions of people voted illegally in the November elections that made him...

Iraqi forces seize control of eastern Mosul, prime minister says

Iraqi forces have taken full control of the eastern side of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced Tuesday...

Trump moves to advance construction of controversial US pipelines

US President Donald Trump signed presidential memoranda Tuesday to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline...

Mexico draws 'red lines' for negotiations with the US

US President Donald Trump's call for a border wall and any significant watering down of the North America Free Trade...

Jihadist fighters assault rival rebels' bases in northern Syria

A powerful Syrian armed group linked to al-Qaeda launched a series of assaults Tuesday on bases of a rival rebel...