The UN envoy visits camps in Western Sahara as part of a new peace effort

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UN envoy for controversial Western Sahara they visited refugee camps in Algeria on Saturday, where they were displaced by clashes decades ago, in a renewed effort to find a diplomatic solution to the territory.

Staffan de Mistura’s visit to the Samara camps, shown on Algerian state television, was met with skepticism among supporters. Polisario Front which seeks the independence of Western Sahara. Morocco in 1975 he annexed the former Spanish colony.

Saharan independence activists are increasingly frustrated after decades of diplomatic stalemate, and some young people are taking up arms against Moroccan forces they see as occupiers.

The envoy began his first trip to the region last week in Morocco and travels to the Algerian capital next week. Algeria and Mauritania. Algeria supports Polisario and broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in August in a dispute over the Western Sahara conflict.

After meeting with de Mistura, Moroccan officials reiterated that the country is “committed to re-establishing a political process that takes place under the exclusive auspices of the UN”.

Morocco has proposed granting greater autonomy to Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a referendum on UN-controlled self-determination

“Sahrawis do not demand the impossible,” Azza Ibrahim Babi, head of the Boujdour refugee settlement, told the Algerian state news agency APS. “Please only organize a referendum.”

She expressed doubts that de Mistura, an Italian diplomat and former UN envoy to Syria, could find a long-unattainable solution. “We will continue the armed struggle.”

In 2020, Polisario ended a 29-year truce with Morocco following a border clash with the Moroccan army, a decision fueled by intolerance among younger Sahrawis waiting their lives for a referendum promised by the UN.

Morocco won a major diplomatic victory when then-President Donald Trump recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in 2020 in exchange for Morocco normalizing relations with Israel. The Moroccan government is trying to persuade other countries, especially in Europe, to follow suit.

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