- 01 December 2017
The Secretary-General Appoints Colin Stewart of Canada Special Representative, Head, United Nations Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara
- 22 November 2017
The PESG Horst Kohler and the SRSG Kim Bolduc gave their berifing before the Security Council regarding the development of the situation in Western Sahara over the last six months.
- 15 October 2017
The PESG Horst Kohler conducted his first tour to the region from 15 to 23 October 2017
18 August 2017
The Secretary-General Appoints Horst Köhler of Germany Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.
27 May 2017
The Secretary-General Guterres inform the President of the Security Council to appoint as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara the former Federal President of Germany, Horst Kholer.
On 19 April, the Council held a meeting with troop- and police-contributing countries to MINURSO. On 25 April, Special Representative and Head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc and Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun briefed Council members in consultations on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Western Sahara. On 21 April, the Group of Friends of Western Sahara met to negotiate the resolution renewing MINURSO’s mandate, which was circulated to all Council members on 24 April. At press time, on 28 April, the Council was set to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of MINURSO for one year. Between 14 and 19 April, a group of 17 internationally-recruited staff of MINURSO (out the 84 who left the territory on 20 March) return to Laayoune. On 11 April Secretary-General Guterres calls on UNSC to urge Polisario to withdraw from Al Guergarat.
On 21 February, at the request of Uruguay, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members under “any other business” on the functionality of MINURSO.
On 27 January, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous briefed Council members during consultations under “any other business” on MINURSO’s return to full functionality and the situation in Al Guergarat, at Uruguay’s request.
On 13 December, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members under “any other business” at the request of Uruguay and Venezuela. Ladsous updated Council members on the situation on the ground in Al Guergarat and on MINURSO’s return to full functionality.
On 3 November, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members under “any other business” on his trip to the Layoune and Sahrawi refugee camps in southwestern Algeria.
On 18 October, Special Representative and head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc and Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Christopher Ross briefed Council members in consultations. The meeting focused particularly on the situation in Al Guergarat, in the southern part of the Territory within the buffer strip controlled by Frente Polisario, where Morocco is attempting to build a road connecting its position at the ‘berm’ with the Mauritanian border.
On 26 August, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations El-Ghassim Wane briefed Council members in consultations on the situation in Western Sahara. The briefing was requested by Venezuela in light of allegations by the Polisario that Morocco had traversed the berm in Al Guargarat, just north of the Mauritanian border, in violation of the ceasefire signed between both parties in 1991.
A group of 25 internationally-recruited staff of MINURSO (out the 84 who left the territory on 20 March) return to Laayoune.
Council members held two meetings on Western Sahara under “any other business” on 7 and 13 April, at the request of Uruguay and Venezuela. Peacekeeping head Hervé Ladsous briefed at both meetings on the situation concerning MINURSO following the withdrawal of 84 of mission staff as demanded by Morocco. On 26 April, Angola convened an ‘Arria-formula’ meeting on Western Sahara to allow Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the AU Commission Joaquim Chissano to brief Council members on the efforts he is undertaking in the discharge of his mandate. Also on 26 April, a meeting of MINURSO troop-contributing countries was held ahead of 27 April consultations when Council members were briefed by Special Envoy Christopher Ross and Special Representative Kim Bolduc who presented the latest MINURSO report. On 29 April, the Council adopted resolution 2285 renewing the MINURSO mandate.
Council members met several times following a visit by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the region and the dispute with Morocco that ensued in Rabat’s request to have 84 members of MINURSO’s civilian staff withdrawn, executed on 20 March. On 17 March, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed members in consultations. On 18 March, Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, briefed Council members under “any other business” on the implications of a staff pullout. On 20 March it was reported that 73 staff members had left the mission. Council members then met at Permanent Representative level on 21 March. On 23 March, Herve Ladsous, head of DPKO, briefed Council members under “any other business”. The following day members met twice on the issue, afterwards issuing press elements that stressed the importance of addressing in a constructive, comprehensive and cooperative manner the circumstances that led to the situation “so that MINURSO may resume its full capacity to carry out its mandate as contained in several resolutions”.
On 10 February, at the request of Venezuela, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed Council members under “any other business” on the proposed visit of the Secretary-General to the region.
On 8 December, Council members met in consultations on Western Sahara. The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, briefed, stating that the negotiation process meant to facilitate a solution to the conflict over Western Sahara remains stalemated, with a solution needed more urgent than ever. He said that while the Polisario is ready to resume face-to-face talks, Morocco remains unready to do so without significant preparation through shuttle diplomacy. Ross concluded that much more can be done by means of a sustained effort by the Council, including a reiteration of his freedom of movement. Special Representative and head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc also briefed.
On 16 April, the Council met with MINURSO troop-contributing countries. On 22 April, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Representative Kim Bolduc on the most recent MINURSO report and by Special Envoy Christopher Ross. On 28 April, the Council adopted resolution 2218, extending the mandate of MINURSO until 30 April 2016.
On 6 February, Kim Bolduc, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Head of MINURSO, arrived in Laayoune.
Council members met in consultations on the situation in Western Sahara on 27 October. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous briefed on the current situation concerning the new Special Representative and head of MINURSO, Kim Bolduc (Canada), who was to assume her position on 1 August, but has not yet travelled to her post due to opposition from Morocco. Bolduc still briefed Council members in consultations on the situation in the territory along with Christopher Ross, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.
On 14 May the Secretary-General Appoints Kim Bolduc of Canada Special Representative, Head of United Nations Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara.
On 16 April, the Council held a closed meeting with the troop- and police-contributing countries to MINURSO. On 17 April, the head of MINURSO, Special Representative Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber briefed Council members in consultations along with Personal Envoy Christopher Ross on MINURSO’s activities and developments in the Secretary-General’s latest report. On 29 April, the Council adopted resolution 2152 and extended the mandate of MINURSO for a year (S/PV.7162). The resolution supports the Secretary-General’s request for an additional 15 military observers, within existing resources. It also encourages the parties to continue their efforts to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, including the freedoms of expression and association, and welcomes the initiatives taken by Morocco, including the planned visit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2014.
Council members were briefed on 30 October in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, as well as the Special Representative and head of MINURSO, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber. During the briefing, Ross shared the findings that emerged from his recent visit to North Africa.
On 11 April, the Council held a closed meeting with the troop and police-contributing countries to MINURSO. On 22 April, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURSO, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber (Germany), and the Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross (US), briefed Council members in consultations on MINURSO’s activities and recent developments since the Secretary-General’s latest report. In his briefing Ross covered his visits to North Africa from 18 March to 3 April and from 8 to 11 April. On 25 April, Council members adopted resolution 2099 and extended the mandate of MINURSO for another year.
On 15 March, the Group of Friends issued a joint statement, welcoming the next leg of Ross’s trip (20 March-3 April) and expressing their support for the mediation efforts undertaken by him. The statement also encouraged the parties to show flexibility in their engagement with the Personal Envoy and each other, in the hopes of ending the current impasse and achieving progress towards a political solution.
From 28 January to 15 February, Ross continued his tour of members of the Group of Friends of Western Sahara (France, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US) aimed at building international support for the negotiations, visiting Washington, D.C. and Moscow, in addition to Germany and Switzerland.
On 28 November, Council members were briefed in consultations by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross, as well as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of MINURSO, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber. During the briefing, Ross shared the findings and recommendations that emerged from his recent visit to North Africa and Europe, which included his first visit to Western Sahara. Ross indicated that at this point he does not believe that convening another round of informal talks would advance the search for a solution, instead proposing to engage in a period of “shuttle diplomacy” with the parties and neighbouring states in the context of one or more visits to the region, including Western Sahara.
On 19 September, the Human Rights Council adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Morocco. Of the five recommendations specific to Western Sahara, Morocco said it was already implementing three. However, it did not support one regarding registration of organisations advocating for the Sahrawi right to self-determination and it rejected another calling for the establishment of a permanent human rights component in MINURSO.
On 15 June, the Secretary-General appointed Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber (Germany) as his Special Representative and head of MINURSO to succeeded Hany Abdel-Aziz (Egypt), who completed his assignment on 30 April.
Morocco, an elected non-permanent member of the Security Council, informed the Secretary-General on 10 May that it had lost confidence in the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, describing his work as “unbalanced and biased.” Following this announcement, the Secretary-General asserted that he had complete confidence in Ross.
On 24 April, Council members adopted resolution 2044 extending the mandate of MINURSO for another year. Earlier, on 17 April, Council members received a briefing in consultations on MINURSO and the Secretary-General’s report from the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy and the head of MINURSO. This followed a closed meeting with the troop- and police-contributing countries to MINURSO on 12 April.
Morocco and the Polisario Front met for the ninth round of informal talks in Greentree, New York, from 11 to 13 March. After the meeting the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy issued a communiqué.
The Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy on 26 October. He noted the lack of progress made by the parties to the Western Sahara conflict and the need for Council’s attention and support.
On 22 July, the Secretary-General informed the Council of his intention to appoint Maj. Gen. Abdul Hafiz of Bangladesh as the new force commander of MINURSO. From 19 to 21 July, parties to the Western Sahara conflict met for the eighth round of informal talks, discussing two proposals (although not agreeing) on the issue of the electoral corps, mechanisms for self-determination, and the forms of guarantees.
From 5 to 7 June, parties to the Western Sahara conflict met for the seventh round of informal talks.
The Council adopted resolution 1979 on 27 April, extending MINURSO’s mandate until 30 April 2012 and adopting important language on human rights. Prior to the adoption, on 19 April, the Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara on the negotiating process and by MINURSO’s Special Representative for Western Sahara. The Council met with troop- and police-contributing countries to MINURSO on the 18th.
Informal talks on Western Sahara were held in Malta from 8 to 9 March. While each party continued to reject the proposal of the other as a sole basis for future negotiations, they agreed to explore innovative approaches.
The Council was briefed by Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and DPKO on the situation in Western Sahara on 16 November. In remarks to the press, the Council deplored the violent clashes between Moroccan security forces and Western Saharan protestors in early November. Earlier, on 9 November, the Council members met informally at Mexico’s request. At the end of the informal meeting the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General issued a communiqué. This followed the third round of talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front from 7 - 9 March, where confidence-building measures were discussed.
On 30 April, the Council adopted resolution resolution 1920 renewing MINURSO’s mandate until 30 April 2011, following a meeting with countries contributing troops and police to MINURSO on the 9th. The Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Western Sahara was published on 6 April.
The Council held informal consultations on 18 February. Morocco and the Polisario Front held informal meetings from 11-12 February facilitated by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, in accordance with resolution 1871, which urged the parties to continue dialogue to achieve acceptable political solution.
The Secretary-General appointed Hany Abdel-Aziz of Egypt as his Special Representative for Western Sahara and the Head of MINURSO on 12 October.
On 30 April, the Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) through resolution 1871. In his report to the Council the Secretary-General said that careful preparation was needed before holding a fifth negotiation round and that the parties had agreed with his Personal Envoy to hold one or more small, informal preparatory meetings.
17 March 2009
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees announced that two UN-led missions would visit the Tindouf camps to assess overall conditions for the refugees following concerns over malnutrition resulting from a 2008 survey.
After taking up his post, Ross held talks in New York and then in February headed to the region for consultations with Morocco, Algeria and the Polisario. He visited Madrid and Paris and met the new US administration in Washington. While still in listening mode, he made clear that he would try a new approach and not call a fifth negotiation round (Van Walsum held four) until the ground had been prepared sufficiently to make some progress possible.
14 January 2009
The Secretary-General announced the appointment of Christopher Ross as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.
Human Rights Watch issued a report on the human rights situation in Western Sahara and in the Tindouf refugee camps. It criticised Morocco and the Polisario for human rights abuses, but was condemned by Rabat as being excessively critical of Morocco.
Van Walsum’s contract expired and was not renewed.
21 April 2008
Peter van Walsum gave his last briefing to the Council as Personal Envoy. He suggested moving the discussions away from the two proposals on the table presented by the parties and instead going forward on the temporary assumption that there would be no referendum with independence as an option without recognising Moroccan sovereignty. His conclusions were controversial and threatened to divide the Council. They were not reflected in the Secretary-General’s 14 April report and were not taken up by the Council.
17-18 March 2008
Morocco and the Polisario held the fourth round of talks in Manhasset in search of a mutually acceptable solution to the situation in Western Sahara. Peter van Walsum, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, facilitated the discussions. The talks focused on implementation of Council resolutions 1754 and 1783. They also focused on administration, justice and resources issues. After the talks, the Moroccan delegation made a statement about its territorial integrity, and said that the choice was not between autonomy and independence but between autonomy and status quo.
The 2007 Western Sahara Country Report on Human Rights Practices by the US Department of State also noted that political rights for residents in Western Sahara remained circumscribed. It added that “international human rights groups and Sahrawi activists maintained that the Moroccan government subjected Sahrawis who were suspected of supporting either Western Saharan independence or the Polisario to various forms of surveillance, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, and in many cases, torture.”
Peter Van Walsum, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, visited the region and held in-depth consultations with the parties. He met the Polisario Secretary-General Mohamed Abdelaziz and other members of the Polisario leadership on 9 February. He also met senior Moroccan officials in Rabat. He also held discussions with officials in Algiers and Nouakchott.
9 January 2008
Peter Van Walsum, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, released a communiqué on the third round of talks between Morocco and the Polisario that took place on 8 and 9 January. It noted that the parties continued to have strong differences but had agreed on the need to move into a substantive phase. There was no progress on confidence-building measures, but there were preliminary discussions on thematic subjects, including administration, competencies and institutions.
Human Rights Watch reported in its annual World Report that Morocco’s authorities continued to harass human rights defenders and Sahrawi activists in the Western Sahara. Repression of public protests, it says, was fiercer in Western Sahara than elsewhere in the kingdom.
14-20 December 2007
The Polisario held its congress in its outpost of Tifariti, in the Polisario-controlled Western Sahara. In a statement carried by the Algerian official news agency, the Polisario said that if current negotiations fail, the Moroccan government would assume full consequences including possibly for resumption of hostilities.
10-11 August 2007
The second round of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario was held in Manhasset, New York, under the same format as the previous round. The parties focused on ways to reinforce confidence-building measures such as contacts between Sahrawi refugees in the Algerian border area of Tindouf and their relatives in Western Sahara. The parties also discussed the implementation of resolution 1754.
27 June 2007
The Secretary-General submitted a report on the status and progress of the first round of negotiations. He noted that the two parties remained far apart on the definition of self-determination, despite having accepted resolution 1754. The Secretary-General had originally made recommendations in his report, including that the Council call on all member states to urge “both parties to make every effort to maintain the momentum and to impress upon them that a final resolution of the conflict will require flexibility and sacrifice from both of them.” He also made specific recommendations to Morocco and the Polisario. But because of concerns from both parties that this might negatively influence the next round, the report was reissued without this paragraph.
18-19 June 2007
Morocco and the Polisario held talks in Manhasset, outside New York, the first direct meeting between the parties since 2000. The Polisario stated its readiness to consider the Moroccan autonomy plan, but apparently continued to insist on a referendum on self-determination, including the option of independence. Morocco seemed ready to offer self-determination only based on autonomy.
11 April 2007
Morocco submitted its autonomy plan for Western Sahara entitled “Moroccan Initiative for Negotiating an Autonomy Statute for the Sahara Region” to the Secretary-General. Polisario also presented to the Secretary-General a “Proposal for a Mutually Acceptable Political Solution that Provides for the Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara.”
Morocco established a Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS, Conseil royal consultatif pour les affaires sahariennes) comprised royally appointed Moroccan political parties representatives as well as Sahrawi leaders resident in the Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara.
6 November 2005
The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, announced the launching of a process of consultation with the parties on granting autonomy to Western Sahara.
11-17 October 2005
The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara visited the region and met with the parties.
18 August 2005
The Polisario released the remaining Moroccan POWs (404).
29 July 2005
The Secretary-General appointed Peter van Walsum (the Netherlands) as his Personal Envoy.
11 June 2004
James Baker resigned from his position as Personal Envoy to Western Sahara. Álvaro de Soto, Special Representative for Western Sahara at that time, took over, shortly, the political process.
30 March 2004
The IDC formally concludes its activities. The files are currently safeguarded in the UN HQ in Geneva.
James Baker returned with a revised version of his plan, including safeguards that won Algerian and Polisario support. Moroccan settlers were able to vote, but Morocco rejected the plan.
23 May 2003
James Baker proposed another plan (a.k.a. ‘Baker Plan II’) which provided for a referendum in four to five years time and offered the inhabitants a choice between independence, autonomy or complete integration with Morocco. The plan was accepted by Polisario, Algeria and the Security Council but was rejected by Morocco.
20 June 2001
James Baker presented a “Framework Agreement” (a.k.a. ‘Baker’s Plan I’), in which the referendum would be replaced by a vote on limited autonomy. Morocco would control the territory while the Sahrawis would have had exclusive competence over local issues. The framework was accepted by Morocco but rejected by the Polisario.
28 February 2000
131,000 appeals are lodged against the results of the PVLs. Differences between the two parties on the appeal process suspends de facto further activities of the IDC.
15 January 2000
The IDC publishes the second PVL. A total of 250,000 Saharans are identified: 86,425 are deemed ‘eligible voters’.
15 July 1999
The IDC publishes the first Provisional Voters List (PVL). An appeals process begins.
The process of identifying ‘eligible voters’ was completed.
14-16 September 1997
The Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, James Baker, conducted a successful round of talks between the parties which led to the adoption of the Houston Accords and restart of the identification process.
17 March 1997
The UN Secretary-General appoints James Baker III, former US Secretary of State, as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.
The identification process was suspended. The civilian police component of MINURSO was withdrawn and the military component was reduced.
28 August 1994
The IDC launches the identification process simultaneously in Laayoune and in the Tindouf area.
6 September 1991
Following agreement with the parties, the UN Secretary-General announces the cease-fire. Both sides suspend the military operations.
1 September 1991
The first contingent of 100 MINURSO military observers arrive in Laayoune.
29 April 1991
UN Security Council Resolution 690 established UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with the mandate to implement the settlement proposals during a transitional period in which the referendum would be organised. The plan also created the IDC (Identification Commission) to determine voters.
20 September 1988
Hector Gross Espiell (Uruguay) is appointed as first Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara.
30 August 1988
The two parties agreed on the UN “settlement proposals,” which pushed for a ceasefire (effective in 1991) and the holding of a referendum to enable the people of Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration with Morocco.
16 April 1987
End of the construction of 6th defensive line (‘berm’) by the Moroccan Armed Forces.
1 July 1985 – 11 August 1988
A joint effort of good offices UN-OAU culminates in the presentation to Morocco and the Polisario of the ‘Settlement Proposals’ for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. These proposals are reiterated in the Secretary-General’s Report S/22464, of 9 April 1991, and adopted by Security Council Resolution 690 of 19 April 1991. It would knew as ‘Settlement Plan’.
Morocco withdrew from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to protest against the presence of the Polisario at the summit of the organization.
The ‘Saharan Arab Democratic Republic’ (‘SADR’) was admitted to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now AU (African Union). Morocco suspend its participation to the OAU.
24-27 June 1981
At the 18 th OAU Summit in Nairobi, King Hassan II expresses his willingness to hold a referendum, taking into account Morocco’s historical claims to the Territory.
Morocco begin the construction of the first of a series of defensive sand walls, ‘berms’.
16 July 1980
The SADR formally applies for membership in the OAU.
17-20 July 1979
At a Summit in Monrovia, Liberia, OAU launches a mediation initiative for a peaceful solution to the Western Sahara conflict by calling for a cease-fire and a referendum. The proposal is rejected by Morocco.
15 August 1979
With the signature of the Algiers Treaty, Mauritania renounced to its all claims on Western Sahara and cede all its rights of the Madrid Agreement to ‘SADR’. Morocco begin the take over the Mauritanian-controlled part of Western Sahara.
French air and special forces launch an operation in support of Mauritania against Polisario (Operation ‘Lamantine’). French troops will remain in Mauritania until 1980.
Establishment of first refugee camps in Tindouf (Algeria).
27 February 1976
Polisario self-proclaimed the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and announce an armed struggle to achieve the right of self-determination. Fighting broke out between the Polisario and the Moroccan and Mauritanian armies. The local population partially fled to refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. In Laayoune, a newly constituted ‘djemaa’ votes for the integration of the Western Sahara into Morocco.
26 February 1976
Last Spanish troops withdrew from Villa Cisneros/Dakhla.
27-29 January 1976
First battle of Amgala between Moroccan and Polisario forces. Rabat denounces the presence, besides Polisario, of Algerian units. Algeria denies the allegations.
31 January 1976
The Secretary General appointed Olof Rydbeck (Sweden) as Special Representative concerning Spanish Sahara
20 December 1975
Mauritanian troops take over the cities of Tichla and La Güera.
14 November 1975
Spain establishes a tripartite administration in Western Sahara with Morocco (Saguia el Hamra) and Mauritania (Rio de Oro) after the signature of the Madrid Accord, but never enter into effect.
11 December 1975
The first Moroccan troops arrive in El Aaiún, (now known as Laayoune). Fighting erupts between Frente POLISARIO and Moroccan forces.
28 November 1975
67 of the 102 members of the ‘djemaa’ (an assembly of notables appointed by the Spanish Government representing the Saharan tribes) dissolve the assembly in the so-called ‘Proclamation of Guelta Zemmour’.
6 November 1975
Morocco launches the “Green March” (Al Massira); some 350,000 Moroccans march a few kilometres across the border into the Territory of Western Sahara (Tah and Hagunia).
16 October 1975
International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion was issued.
The Decolonization Committee issues a report requesting the UN General Assembly to enable the local population to choose their future in free and fair circumstances.
May – June 1975
A delegation of the UN Decolonisation Committee visits Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Mauritania.
The Spanish census, a prerequisite for the self-determination referendum, registers 73,497 local inhabitants of Western Sahara.
10 May 1973
First military action of Polisario against Spanish forces
29 April 1973
The Frente Para la Liberación de Saguia Al Hamra y Rio de Oro (Polisario) is founded in Zouerate (Mauritania) with the purpose of obtaining independence for Western Sahara.
UN Special Committee on Decolonisation declares Western Sahara a “non-selfgoverning territory to be decolonised” in accordance with General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 Dec. 1960.
The UN General Assembly adopts its first resolution on Western Sahara, requesting Spain to decolonise the Territory (General Assembly resolution 2072 (XX) of 17 Dec. 1965).
The UN General Assembly requests Spain to organise, under UN supervision, a referendum on self-determination (General Assembly resolution 2229 (XXI) of 20 Dec. 1966). The demand is repeated each year from 1967 to 1973.
20 July 1946 - 10 January 1958
Establishment and duration of Spanish West Africa (which included Western Sahara, Spanish Southern Moroccan Protectorate and Sidi Ifni)
Beginning of penetration of Spain inside the Western Sahara.
30 March 1901
Signature of the Franco-Spanish treat for the delimitation of borders of Guinea and Western Sahara. In 1904 and 1920 other agreements between France and Spain completed the delimitation of borders of Western Sahara.
November 1884 – November 1885
At the Berlin Diplomatic Conference (a.k.a. Congo Conference or West Africa Conference), Spain is recognised, on her request, as the colonial power of Western Sahara, considered at time as res nullius.