UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR WESTERN SAHARA HORST KOHLER PREPARES FOR NEW ROUND OF TALKS

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The United Nations Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler, is preparing to launch a fifth round of direct negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco before the end of the year, sources here say.

The UN envoy on Wednesday briefed the Security Council of his move to send invitations in the coming weeks to the Polisario Front and Morocco to resume direct negotiations, which have been suspended since 2012.

Kohler plans to hold the new round of negotiations before the end of the year, probably in late October or early November, the sources say.

Despite pressure from Morocco to limit the briefing to a factual report and avoid recommendations on a return to the negotiating table, Kohler, the former president of Germany, told the Council of the next steps he intends to take for the resumption of the UN process.

Rabat proposed on Monday the postponement of the briefing to prevent a proposal for an agenda to resume the political process from being drafted at this meeting.

At the end of the briefing, the Polisario Front re-affirmed in a statement its willingness to co-operate with the Secretary General's personal envoy for the resumption of negotiations, and expressed its support for the efforts made by Kohler for this purpose.

During his first briefing to the Security Council last March, Kohler clearly defined his mandate as the UN Secretary-General's personal envoy to "find a way forward" on the basis of a solution guaranteeing the self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

The UN envoy explained his vision of the peace process and stated that he sought to re-open direct negotiations between the two parties to the conflict in 2018.

"We must comply with resolution 2351. We do not need a new terminology, but a willingness to act, said Kohler, rejecting the conditions of Morocco which refuses to return to the negotiating table unless its autonomy plan is made the only option for the resolution of the dispute.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK