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Saturday, March 19, 2016, Chaitra 5, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 9, 1437 Hijri

Morocco cuts UN mission from W Sahara
Published :Saturday, 19 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 12

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 18: Morocco ordered the United Nations (UN) on Friday to pull 84 international staff from its Western Sahara mission, after accusing UN chief Ban Ki-moon of no longer being neutral in a conflict over the disputed territory.
The Moroccan government, however, reversed a previously announced decision to withdraw all of its troops from UN peacekeeping missions worldwide.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressing concern told reporters that Morocco said UN and the African Union have three days to remove 84 civilian staff from Western Sahara. UN says will cripple the mission that was set up in 1991 after a ceasefire was reached.
There was no appeal to Morocco to reverse its decision, nor was there any expression of support for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who has been locked in a public dispute with Rabat.
During a recent trip to North Africa, Ban angered Rabat when he used the word "occupation" to describe the status of Western Sahara.
The UN chief then angrily accused Rabat of staging protests directed against him during which hundreds of thousands of demonstrators carried banners denouncing Ban's "lack of neutrality."
In response, Morocco decided to cut $3 million in funding for the UN mission and expel the MINURSO staff, decisions Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said were "irreversible."     ?AFP, REUTERS

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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