UN's envoy cancels trip to Morocco's Sahara region

Staffan de Mistura was in Rabat to meet government officials

Staffan de Mistura. Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
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UN envoy Staffan de Mistura visited Morocco on Monday but has cancelled a planned trip to the country's Sahara region, the UN said.

Mr de Mistura was “in Rabat to meet Moroccan officials”, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York.

“He has decided not to proceed with a visit to Western Sahara during this trip, but looks forward to doing so during his upcoming visits to the region.”

Morocco administers about 80 per cent of the 266,000 square kilometres of the sparsely populated desert region with the remainder held by the Algerian-supported, self-declared Sahrawi Arab Republic.

The breakaway state is not recognised by the UN and Morocco’s claim to the region is supported by a number of Arab and African states.

In late 2020, the administration of then-US president Donald Trump recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara.

Morocco made no official mention of the visit but local media reported the envoy's arrival on Saturday.

Mr de Mistura, the UN's former Syria envoy, made his first tour in post in January, visiting Morocco, Mauritania, Algiers and Tindouf in Algeria.

Updated: July 05, 2022, 3:49 AM