Time to Resolve the ‘Sandbox War’

Since Morocco seized its phosphate-rich southern neighbour, the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, in 1975, Sahrawi activists have resisted Moroccan rule. Sixteen years of armed conflict formally ended in 1991 with a United Nations-backed agreement for a referendum on the territory's future, but a ballot has been continually delayed over disputes about the voting process. With global food security depending on the supply of phosphates for fertilizer - amid growing international concerns about human rights - pressures to resolve the long-standing conflict are increasing.

Independence fighters in Western Sahara, 1977

Saharan refugee camp between Tindouf, Algeria and the border with Western Sahara.


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