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UN-led talks on Western Sahara end with plans to meet again

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general’s envoy for Western Sahara has wrapped up the first talks in six years over the future of the territory mostly controlled by Morocco, saying the sides have agreed to meet again early next year.

Former German president Horst Koehler, hailed “a first, but an important, step” toward resolving a decades-old standoff between Morocco and the independence-minded Polisario Front.

He spoke Thursday after two days of talks in Geneva involving a top Polisario envoy and foreign ministers of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania over the future of the phosphates-rich territory.

Koehler announced plans to hold another such “round table” discussion in the first quarter of next year.

Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front until a U.N.-brokered cease-fire in 1991.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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