The UN chief's spokesperson, Michele Montas, said that Mr. Walsum reiterated, in his speech at the opening of the two-day talks, the call made by the UN Security Council - in its Resolution 1783 - to the parties to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue to ensure success of negotiations.
She added in a press briefing in the UN headquarters that the Personal Envoy underlined that notwithstanding the fact the United Nations is here to facilitate discussions in all possible means, it is incumbent upon the parties to reach a solution.
The third round of negotiations on the Sahara, held under the auspices of the UN, are attended by delegations of Morocco, Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania.
Ms. Montas announced that the agenda of the first session included plenary discussions on the implementation of the pertaining Security Council Resolutions.
She also noted that the UN facilitator held bilateral talks with the participants, and that the talks will look into defining the path to follow in the negotiations process.
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Ban Ki-moon called upon the parties to engage in “intensive and substantive,” while recognizing that "it will take both time and patience to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution to this longstanding dispute.”
Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario separatists are disputing the control of the Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was ceded to Morocco by virtue of the Madrid Accord signed in 1975 with Spain and Mauritania.