HC Deb 03 March 1999 vol 326 c797W
Mr. Love

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact his Department has with the Polisario Front; and if he will make a statement on progress towards a settlement in the Western Sahara. [74200]

Mr. Fatchett

Foreign Office officials in both London and New York hold regular meetings with representatives of the Polisario Front; they have also visited the Polisario camps in Tindouf.

In late 1998 the UN Secretary-General introduced a package of proposals intended to speed up the referendum process. These were accepted in full by the Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania, but Morocco sought clarification on several issues. Since then Morocco has signed the Status of Forces Agreement and has agreed to formalise the presence of UNHCR in the Western Sahara. The mandate for MINURSO has been extended until the end of March 1999 to allow for further discussions between the UN and the Moroccan authorities on the remaining outstanding issues.

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