27 February 2003

Secretary-General Urges POLISARIO to Accelerate Release of Remaining Prisoners of War

NEW YORK, 26 February (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The 100 prisoners of war, whose release was announced by the Frente POLISARIO on 10 February, were repatriated to the Kingdom of Morocco by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 26 February. The Secretary-General welcomes this step, which is responsive to numerous Security Council resolutions and presidential statements calling for the release of all prisoners of war. The Secretary-General appeals to the Frente POLISARIO to accelerate the release of all remaining prisoners of war, and urges the parties to continue to cooperate with the efforts of the ICRC to resolve the fate of all those unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict. He also urges the parties to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to embark on an early implementation of confidence-building measures.

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