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UN chief to appoint American as new envoy to Western Sahara

UN chief Ban Ki-moon Ban Ki-Moon (bän kē-mn), 1944–, South Korean diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (2007–), b. Chungju, grad. Seoul National Univ. (B.S.  plans to appoint American diplomat Christopher Ross as his new special envoy envoy: see diplomatic service.

Envoy - Motorola's integrated personal wireless communicator. Envoy is a personal digital assistant which incorporates two-way wireless and wireline communication.
 to the Western Sahara Western Sahara, territory (2005 est. pop. 273,000), 102,703 sq mi (266,000 sq km), NW Africa, occupied by Morocco. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Morocco in the north, on Algeria in the northeast, and on Mauritania in the east and south. , a UN statement said Wednesday.

Ross, a former US ambassador to Syria and Algeria, will replace Peter van Walsum, whose mandate was not renewed after it expired last August 21.

Van Walsum was accused of favoring Morocco after stating that independence for Western Sahara was "an unrealistic option."

The UN statement said Ross would work with the parties and neighboring neigh·bor  
1. One who lives near or next to another.

2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.

3. A fellow human.

4. Used as a form of familiar address.

 countries to build on progress made to date in "pursuit of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara."

Morocco has offered a form of autonomy for the territory under Moroccan sovereignty, while the Algerian-backed independence movement Polisario Front The Polisario, Polisario Front, or Frente Polisario, from the Spanish abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y o de Oro  wants a referendum on self-determination that would include the option of full independence.

Morocco annexed the northwest African territory, which has large phosphate reserves and rich fishing grounds, after the withdrawal of the region's former colonial power Spain in 1975 and settled it with around 300,000 Moroccans.

A bitter guerrilla guerrilla

Member of an irregular military force fighting small-scale, fast-moving actions, usually in concert with an overall political-military strategy, against conventional military and police forces.
 war with the Polisario Front -- who contested Rabat's sovereignty -- ended only in 1991 with a UN-brokered ceasefire.

The UN had sought since 1992 to organize a referendum on self-determination for the territory, but several attempts, including one in 2003 by former US secretary of state James Baker, broke down over arguments over who was eligible to vote.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jan 7, 2009
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