UN mission in Western Sahara extended through April 2005

The Council action comes after Mr. Annan reported last week that parties in Western Sahara have made no progress over the last six months towards agreement on a peace plan originally proposed last year by his former Personal Envoy James Baker.In his report, the Secretary-General gave two options for the Council to consider: either maintaining the status quo of 203 military observers monitoring the ceasefire line or the withdrawal of no more than 37 of them, which would still enable the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to carry out its work without disruption.The Council today asked Mr. Annan to report back within three months with more details on the two options, as well as on the evolution of the situation.MINURSO has been deployed in the territory since September 1991, originally to prepare for a referendum as envisaged under the settlement plan and to monitor the ceasefire between Morocco and the Frente POLISARIO. In the 13 years since, the Mission’s activities have been limited mainly to patrolling the ceasefire line and conducting humanitarian activities.