19 August 2005

Secretary-General Welcomes Polisario Decision to Release All Remaining 404 Moroccan Prisoners of War

NEW YORK, 18 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General welcomes the decision by the Frente POLISARIO to release all remaining 404 Moroccan prisoners of war, who are being repatriated today to the Kingdom of Morocco by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He expresses his appreciation to all parties involved, in particular the ICRC and United States Senator Richard Lugar.

The Secretary-General considers the release a positive step, and expresses his hope that it will serve to foster better relations between the parties and contribute to overcoming the present political impasse.  

The Secretary-General reiterates his call on the Kingdom of Morocco, and on the Frente POLISARIO to continue cooperating with the ICRC to account for those who are still missing.  

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