Morocco says UN Western Sahara decision "irreversible", continues military cooperation

by Reuters
Thursday, 24 March 2016 19:15 GMT

RABAT, March 24 (Reuters) - Morocco's decision to reduce United Nations staff at the Western Sahara mission is "irreversible", but the government is committed to U.N. military cooperation to guarantee the ceasefire there, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

Morocco earlier this month asked the United Nations to pull out more than 80 civilian staffers and close a military liaison office after criticising U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for using the word "occupation" to describe Morocco's annexation of the territory.

It is Rabat's worst dispute with the U.N. since 1991, when it brokered a ceasefire over Western Sahara. Morocco took over most of it in 1975 from colonial Spain. That started a guerilla war with the Sahrawi people's Polisario Front who say the desert territory on Africa's northwest belongs to them. (Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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