The United Nations is preparing a formal proposal to jumpstart talks on settling the decades-old conflict over Western Sahara, a spokesperson said Monday.
UN envoy Christopher Ross is ready to travel to the region to discuss the proposal on “re-invigorating the Western Sahara negotiating process,” said spokesperson Farhan Haq.
“A formal proposal is being made to the parties and neighbouring states,’ he added.
Four rounds of UN-sponsored talks held between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which is campaigning for a referendum on self-rule, have failed to make progress since 2007.
Morocco will retry 24 civilians convicted of killing members of the security forces during clashes in Western Sahara in 2010, a victory for human rights campaigners who say allegations they were forced to confess were never addressed.
The cassation court on Wednesday ordered a retrial in a civilian court for the defendants who were jailed for between 20 years and life by a military court in 2013, Mohamed Sebbar, head of the National Human Rights Council, said. Morocco outlawed military trials for civilians in 2014.
Two lawyers confirmed the news, which comes as Morocco negotiates with the United Nations about the return of members of its Western Sahara mission expelled from the country after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon described Morocco’s 1975 annexation of the territory as an “occupation”.