- The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has called on peaceful negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front ahead of the talks on the future of the disputed Western Sahara. Four rounds of the UN-brokered talks in New York since 2007 have failed to resolve the long-standing dispute between the two rivals.
Mr Ban appealed to the negotiating partners to show political will to enter into substantive discussions and ensure the success of the negotiations.
“As it would appear from the consultations held thus far that little has changed since the last round of negotiations to facilitate a positive outcome for the fifth round, careful preparation is needed,” Mr Ban stated in the new report presented to the Security Council.
Morocco holds that its position in Western Sahara should be recognised, while the Polisario Front contends that the Territory's final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option.
In February the UN special envoy Christopher Ross who visited the region established that the parties remained far apart on ways to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.
Mr Ban also voiced concern about the humanitarian situation of the Western Saharan refugees, many of whom have been living in camps in the Tindouf area of neighbouring Algeria for years.
The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in place since September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which contests the territory.
The UN secretary general also suggested the council extend the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara for another year until 30 April 2010.
Morocco has annexed the former Spanish colony since 1976, leaving around one third of mostly uninhabited Sahrawi lands, the interior part bordering Algeria and Mauritania on Polisario's hands.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.