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Western Sahara: AHC's 5-day visit

Briefing notes

Western Sahara: AHC's 5-day visit

19 November 1999

The UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner, Søren Jessen-Petersen, leaves Saturday for a five-day trip in the Western Sahara region. He will visit Algiers, Tindouf, Laayoune and Rabat.

UNHCR has been designated by the Secretary-General as the agency in charge of the repatriation to Western Sahara of some 100,000 Sahrawi who have been refugees in the Tindouf camps in Algeria for more than 25 years.

This repatriation will precede the referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawi population which is scheduled to take place in December 2000.

The Assistant High Commissioner will discuss the preparatory work of the repatriation operation with all the parties involved. Meetings are planned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, leaders of the Frente Polisario and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador William Eagleton. In Rabat, the Mr. Jessen-Petersen will meet the Prime Minister of Morocco, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Interior.