UN 'to spare no effort' to restore Western Sahara mission

The United Nations says the secretary-general and his envoys are ready "to spare no effort" to restore the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the disputed Western Sahara to its full operation and end the controversy with Morocco — as called for by the U.N. Security Council.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that part of the next steps were his reiteration that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's recent trip to the region was not meant "to offend or express hostility" toward Morocco, which annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and won't consider anything but autonomy for the mineral-rich region.

Morocco expelled most of the U.N. mission's civilian staff after Ban used the word "occupation" following a visit to a camp for Western Sahara refugees. Many refugees support the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for Western Sahara.