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Vol 38 No 13

Published 20th June 1997

Face to face

The first official face-to-face talks between Polisario and Morocco, on the United Nations' referendum plan in Lisbon on 23-25 June, are being hailed as a breakthrough. Morocco had systematically refused direct negotiations to overcome a six-year impasse over voter eligibility. The change came after pressure from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Envoy, United States' former Secretary of State James Baker, who held separate talks with both parties in London on 11-12 June. After telephoning King Hassan II on the evening of 11 June, Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelatif Fillali conceded to direct talks in Lisbon.

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