Experts on Western Sahara Wrap up Geneva Meeting
Experts on the Western Sahara ended two days of technical talks in Geneva Friday on a possible referendum on self-determination for the former Spanish colony without making any clear progress, sources close to the talks said.
A decision on whether to convene a new meeting in Geneva in August now rests with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative James Baker, sources at the UN said.
But an official with the UN's mission in Western Sahara, Emhammed Hkeddad, expressed doubts that the meeting would take place because of what he called Morocco's attitude over the question of who should be able to vote in any possible referendum.
The Moroccans refused to discuss the issue, he told reporters Friday.
Representatives from the Polisario Front which is demanding independence for the Western Sahara also took part in the talks.
Western Sahara, a 260,000 square-kilometer (100,390-square-mile) territory, was annexed by Morocco in 1975.
In 1988, Morocco and the Polisario Front accepted a peace plan brokered by the UN which foresaw giving residents the choice of remaining a part of Morocco or becoming independent.
But the referendum, originally scheduled for 1992, has been put back repeatedly due to disagreements over who has the right to vote - GENEVA (AFP)
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