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UN Envoy for Western Sahara Quits over Health Reasons

UN Envoy for Western Sahara Quits over Health Reasons

Thursday, 23 May, 2019 - 08:30
Horst Koehler. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The UN envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, has resigned from his post due to health reasons, the United Nations said Wednesday.

The 76-year-old envoy relayed the news to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a phone call on Wednesday, a UN statement said.

Guterres "deeply regretted the resignation but said he fully understood the decision and extended his best wishes to the personal envoy," it added.

Koehler, a former German president, was appointed in August 2017 to lead UN efforts to end the decades-old conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front.

In a statement, Morocco's foreign ministry said "the kingdom of Morocco notes with regret" Koehler's resignation, while crediting him "for the efforts he has made since his nomination."

His departure leaves the UN negotiations in limbo following two rounds of talks that marked the first time in six years that the parties have come to the negotiating table.

Guterres thanked Koehler for his "steadfast and intensive efforts which laid the foundation for the new momentum in the political process on the question of Western Sahara."

Koehler served as German president from 2004 to 2010 and was managing director of the International Monetary Fund from 2000 to 2004.

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