Magazine article UN Chronicle

Efforts Continue to Solve Western Sahara Problem

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Efforts Continue to Solve Western Sahara Problem

Article excerpt

Work continued during early 1989 on the details of implementing a joint United Nations/Organization of African Unity (OAU) peace plan for Western Sahara.

The plan-accepted in principle on 30 August 1988 by both Morocco and the Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y de Rio de Oro (POLISARIO)-calls for a cease-fire and a referendum organized and supervised by the UN. The practical modalities of each are still being worked out.

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar reported in February that UN experts were collecting relevant data and studying methods for revising electoral lists on the basis of a 1974 Spanish census. Reportedly, identity papers had been issued on the basis of that census. Available information would be computerized. In March, Spanish experts who had worked on that census spent two weeks in New York assisting in the process.

Mr. Perez de Cuellar called it a rather complicated exercise", as it had to be ensured that everyone who was really Sahraoui had the right to participate in the elections. He said that very careful work was being undertaken to prepare the referendum so that the will of the Sahraoui people would be expressed.

On 2 February, Hector Gros Espiell, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Western Sahara, had reported on a two-week mission to North Africa in January. …

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