Western Sahara: Polisario Front representative to UN dies

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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.