UN: King Felipe VI of Spain and Ban Ki-moon Discuss Western Sahara

Spanish King Felipe VI met on Wednesday in New York with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the General Debate of the 69th session of the General assembly.

The first meeting between held between the newly crowned Spanish monarch and the UN chief touched on the question of the Western Sahara, according to the office of the UNSG.

“The Secretary-General met today with H.M. King Felipe VI of Spain. They discussed the Western Sahara situation, and the Secretary-General thanked H.M King Felipe VI for Spain’s support for United Nations negotiations,” said a readout of the Secretary-General’s meeting with King Felipe VI, King of Spain.

Spain, which occupied western Sahara from 1884 to 1975, is member of the Group of Friends of Western Sahar, which also includes France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Spain is candidate for temporary membership in the Security Council for 2015-2016 and observers say that it has a good chance of winning the seat.

Over the past 10 years has maintained what observers describe as positive neutrality towards the Western Sahara dispute, calling for a mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict.

Spain is Morocco’s major economic partner ahead of France, which has kept this position for several decades.

Morocco was the third country to be visited by King Felipe VI following his coronation and the first country outside of the European Union.