Norway wants freedom of movement for UN envoy to Western Sahara
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Norway's minister for Foreign Affairs today stated that the UN's special envoy to Western Sahara must have freedom of movement. Few weeks ago, Moroccan authorities prevented the UN official access to Western Sahara.
Published 16 December 2015


Photo (UN Photo/Martine Perret): MINURSO troops in Western Sahara.

"As part in finding a political solution, it is imperative that special envoy Christopher Ross can carry out his mandate without obstruction", Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs stated to Parliament.

The statement came in an answer from parliamentarian Rannveig Kvifte Andresen.

"We are in dialogue with Ross regarding the challenges he is facing getting access to all the areas that his mandate opens for. As part of the special envoy's work is naturally get access to all parts of Western Sahara, even the Morocco-controlled", Brende stated.

Ross wanted initially to travel to the occupied territories in November. He was obstructed to do so by Moroccan authorities.

8 December, Ross therefore asked the UN Security Council for "support for my freedom of movement, as expressed in a previous meeting". Ross stated it would be "critical in enabling me to remain familiar with conditions in Western Sahara and in preventing the establishment of an unsound precedent".

Western Sahara is a territory treated by the UN as the last unresolved territory under decolonisation in Africa. The territory was occupied by the neighbouring countries of Mauritania and Morocco in 1975, with UN condemnation.

The international court of justice in The Hague rejected the two neighbouring states' demands. More than 100 UN resolutions establish that the Saharawis have right to self-determination.

No states in the world recognise Morocco's baseless claims of sovereignty over the territory. A dozen Saharawis were injured this week-end as Moroccan police intervened in a demonstration this week-end.

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