Western Sahara: Polisario Front representative to UN dies

The head of the Polisario Front movement that seeks independence for the disputed Western Sahara says the group's representative to the United Nations has died after a long illness.

Algeria's official APS news agency published a Polisario Front statement Wednesday saying senior leader Ahmed Boukhari died Tuesday in Spain at age 64.

The statement didn't give a cause of death. It said Boukhari was known for his diplomatic and legal skills and accomplished his mission at the U.N. with patience and perseverance.

He had signed a letter to the U.N. Security Council this week to advocate for Western Sahara's independence. Morocco annexed the territory, a former Spanish colony, in 1975.

The U.N. has a peacekeeping mission monitoring a 1991 cease-fire between Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front.