UN council backs new effort to end Western Sahara conflict

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution backing the secretary-general's new effort to resolve the 40-year conflict over the Western Sahara which has pitted Morocco against the Polisario Front independence movement.

The resolution was adopted Friday evening shortly after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres confirmed that Polisario Front fighters had withdrawn from the town of Guerguerat in the buffer zone on the Morocco-Mauritanian border. He had called for an immediate withdrawal — and the council had been set to echo his appeal.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front. A referendum on the territory's future has never taken place.

The resolution affirms the Security Council's "full support" for the secretary-general's commitment to relaunch negotiations "with a new dynamic and a new spirit"