Delegations from Morocco and the Frente Polisario have attended a
fourth round of informal talks in New York on ending the conflict in
Western Sahara at the invitation of the personal envoy of the United
The three-day meeting in Long Island, convened by the envoy,
Christopher Ross, was also attended delegates from the neighbouring
States, Algeria and Mauritania. As was the case in the previous
informal talks, the discussions, which ended on Saturday, took place
in "an atmosphere of serious engagement, frankness, and mutual
respect," according to a statement issued by Mr. Ross' office.
The proposals of the two parties were again presented, but by the end
of the meeting, each party continued to reject the proposal of the
other as a sole basis for future negotiations, the statement added.
Within the framework of the relevant Security Council resolutions
on the ongoing negotiations process, the parties engaged in extensive
discussions on innovative approaches to create a new dynamic in the
negotiating process next year on the basis of regular meetings.
"In this regard, both parties proposed concrete ideas that will be
developed at the next two rounds of informal talks to be held from 21
to 22 January and in March 2011."
The delegations also discussed the programme of Confidence Building
Measures set out by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and
confirmed the continuation of family visits by air.
As agreed during the third round of informal talks, the four
delegations plan to meet with the Office of the High Commissioner for
Refugees in Geneva in the near future to review the implementation of
the "Plan of Action" in full and to advance the implementation of
family visits by road.
Mr. Ross called upon the two parties to help create an atmosphere of
trust in order to make progress in the negotiations and to avoid
t could have negative effects on that process.
In its resolution 1871 of 2009, the Security Council called on the
parties to continue their dialogue under the auspices of the
Secretary-General to achieve "a just, lasting and mutually acceptable
political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of
the people of Western Sahara."
The UN has been involved in efforts towards a settlement in Western
Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the
Frente Polisario after the Spanish colonial administration of the
Morocco has presented a plan for autonomy while the position of the
Frente Polisario is that the territory's final status should be
decided in a referendum on self-determination that includes
independence as an option.