Spokesperson’s Noon Briefing on Western Sahara, 9 march 2012

Question: Thank you. I am [correspondent gives his name] for the Moroccan TV. Okay, a new round of negotiation will take place between Morocco and Polisario. What are the topics to be discussed during this round of negotiations, and what is hoped from this round?
Spokesperson: Well, let’s be very clear: these are informal talks which will be starting on Sunday afternoon at Greentree, on Long Island. And this, of course, is with the delegations of the parties to the conflict — Morocco and the Frente Polisario, and with the two neighbouring States — Algeria and Mauritania. As I think you are aware, Ambassador Ross is expected to make a statement to the press at end of this round of talks. I think that is provisionally set for around 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. This is the first round of informal talks since July of last year. And we obviously welcome the fact that the parties are meeting for this new round, and the United Nations remains committed to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. And this is as mandated by the Security Council. The main objective of the talks — to get to the nub of your question — remains to discuss the proposals of the parties on a settlement. And in order to help the parties move forward in the negotiating process, the Personal Envoy will also encourage further discussion of the new ideas put forward in paragraph 120 of the Secretary-General’s last report on Western Sahara. And in addition, the parties will continue their discussion on innovative approaches and topics for discussion such as natural resources and de-mining, without prejudice to the final status of the Territory. And they will also review the progress accomplished on confidence-building measures.
UN Briefing, 9 MARCH 2012