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Western Sahara

Volume 456: debated on Tuesday 6 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the UN on their future operations in the western Sahara; and whether there are plans for a referendum on the future political status of the western Sahara. (119194)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not made representations to the UN about its future operations in western Sahara.

The UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General, and his personal envoy to western Sahara, Peter Van Walsum, to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of western Sahara.

On 31 October 2006, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolution 1720, which renewed the mandate for the UN Mission for the referendum in western Sahara until 30 April 2007. The Government supported this and will continue to encourage all parties to engage with the UN process. There are, however, no plans for a referendum to be held in the near future.