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Western Sahara

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress in implementing UN mandates on Western Sahara. [105663]

United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1429 of 30 July 2002 extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for a Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 January 2003. Among other things, this invited James Baker, the UN Secretary-General's (UNSG) Personal Envoy, to pursue his efforts to find a political solution to the dispute, taking into account the concerns expressed by the parties, and expressed the readiness of the Security Council to consider any approach that provides for self determination for the people of Western Sahara.

MINURSO's mandate has since been extended twice: by UNSCR 1463 to allow the parties time to consider the latest proposal presented to them by the UNSG's Personal Envoy; and most recently by UNSCR 1469 to allow consideration of the responses of the parties to the proposal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of (a) Morocco and (b) the Polisario to discuss the future of the Western Sahara. [105664]

I met Mohammed Benaissa, Moroccan Foreign Minister in November 2002 and Lehbib Breica, the Frente Polisario representative to the UK and Ireland in December 2002.