Former US secretary of state James Baker will mediate in talks in London starting Sunday between Morocco and the Polisario Front in a bid to clear the way for a referendum on the disputed Western Sahara region.
Both parties accepted in 1988 a UN plan for a referendum which would allow voters in the former Spanish colony, annexed by Morocco in 1975, to choose between independence -- what the Polisario Front campaigns for -- or remaining part of Morocco.
But the vote has been postponed for years due to disagreement about who should be eligible to participate.
Baker, who has been sent as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy, is to mediate in the talks Sunday and Monday at Lancaster House in London.
Also attending will be representatives of Algeria and Mauritania, which border the disputed territory. The Polisario Front has Algerian support in its armed independence campaign -- LONDON (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)