UN chief appoints new special representative for Western Sahara

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-02 04:00:28|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Colin Stewart of Canada as his new special representative for Western Sahara and head of the UN mission in the disputed territory.

Stewart succeeds Kim Bolduc of Canada, who has held the position since May 2014.

Stewart brings to the position demonstrated management and leadership, with more than 25 years of experience in peace and security and international affairs, said Guterres' spokesman in a statement, on Friday.

Most recently, Stewart served as deputy head and chief of staff of the UN Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has also held appointments in a number of UN field missions.

Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania at the end of Spain's colonial rule in 1976. When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy that sector and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory. Fighting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.

A cease-fire was signed in September 1991. The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, known as Minurso, was deployed that year to monitor the cease-fire and to organize, if possible, a referendum on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.