UN welcomes moves to restart negotiations on Western Sahara

Polisario Front soldiers stand at an entrance of the fifth sector base in Bir Lahlou, Western Sahara, September 9, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 31 October 2018

UN welcomes moves to restart negotiations on Western Sahara

  • Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front until the UN brokered a cease-fire in 1991

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has approved a resolution welcoming stepped up efforts to try to restart negotiations to end the 42-year conflict over the mineral-rich Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front until the UN brokered a cease-fire in 1991. A peacekeeping mission established to monitor it was also mandated to help prepare a referendum on the territory’s future that has never taken place.
Wednesday’s vote on the US-sponsored resolution extending the mission’s mandate until April 30, 2019, was 12-0 with Russia, Ethiopia and Bolivia abstaining.
Bolivia’s UN Ambassador Sasha Llorentty Soliz welcomed an upcoming roundtable of key parties but complained that the resolution neglected the crucial issue of self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.


Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

Updated 22 min 16 sec ago

Rouhani says Iran budget set to resist US sanctions by curbing oil dependence

  • Rouhani said the draft state budget was designed to resist US sanctions

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday presented to parliament what he called a “budget of resistance” against crippling sanctions imposed by arch-enemy the United States.

“Next year, similar to the current year, our budget is a budget of resistance and perseverance against sanctions,” Rouhani told parliament in remarks broadcast on state radio.

“This budget announces to the world that despite sanctions we will manage the country, especially in terms of oil,” he added.

The budget for the financial year starting late March 2020 comes after fuel price hikes that were imposed in mid-November triggered deadly demonstrations across the Islamic republic.

In his speech, Rouhani announced a 15 percent increase for public sector wages in a country whose economy has been battered by US sanctions.

US President Donald Trump began imposing punitive measures in May 2018, after unilaterally withdrawing from an accord that gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Iran’s economy will contract by 9.5 percent this year.