Morocco asks U.N. to remove 84 staffers from West Sahara mission


Morocco has asked the United Nations to remove 84 staff members in the coming days from its Western Sahara mission after U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon made what it called unacceptable remarks about the territory in a visit to North Africa, a Moroccan official source said on Thursday.

The source said the military and peacekeeping part of the mission would not be affected. A visit by Ban to Morocco is not on the agenda, the source said.

Ban said he wanted Morocco and the Polisario Front, which waged a guerrilla war over the Western Sahara after Morocco took control over most of the region in 1975, to restart negotiations. A ceasefire ended fighting in 1991, but the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement since then.