U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that there has been "no real progress" in negotiations to reach a political solution in the 40-year-old Western Sahara conflict.

He told reporters in Algiers on Sunday, after visiting refugee camps in southern Algeria that he's asked his special representative, Christopher Ross, to try to relaunch talks between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which for decades has claimed independence for the vast territory and its Sahraoui people.

He met with U.N. troops who remain ready to organize a referendum "if there is an agreement between the parties."

The conflict has led to icy relations between Algeria, which supports the Polisario, and neighboring Morocco, which annexed the territory in 1975 after Spain withdrew.