The UN Secretary General’s personal envoy to the Sahara Christopher Ross, said Thursday that a solution to the Sahara conflict “more urgent than ever”, following a meeting with Foreign Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani.


“In Rabat, I am starting a new tour dedicated to searching for a solution to the Western Sahara question, in line with successive (UN) Security Council resolutions,” he was quoted by AFP as saying.


The situation in the Sahel region and its vicinity makes a solution more urgent than ever,” he added.


On Wednesday, Ross held talks with Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, as well as with parliamentary speaker Karim Ghellab.


Changes to the regional security situation have vindicated “the position of Morocco, which has long drawn the attention of the international community to dangers of this region,” Ghellab was quoted by MAP news agency as saying.

The UN envoy is due to hold talks with Moroccan Interioer Minister Mohaned Laanser.


During his second visit to the region since he was appointed in 2009, the UN envoy will also travel on Friday to Laayoune and Dakhla, the main cities in the Sahara. As during his first visit last fall, Ross will also visit Algeria and Mauritani, as well as the Tindouf camps in Algeria.


Since January 2009, Morocco and the Polisario have held 9 informal rounds of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy, Christopher Ross. All of these negotiations have ended without any progress.


Ross is due to present a report to the UN Security Council on April 22.