Morocco orders UN workers out of Western Sahara

Morocco orders UN workers out of Western Sahara
Dozens of UN aid workers have expelled from the disputed Western Sahara region after UN chief Ban Ki-Moon's controversial comments about the disputed territory's status earlier in the week.
1 min read
20 March, 2016
Ban Ki-moon remarks led to protests in the Moroccan capital [Getty]
Dozens of UN workers have been ordered out of the disputed Western Sahara region by the Moroccan authorities on Sunday.

Scores of the international organisation's workers left the area early on Sunday, Moroccan state news agency reported.

The move comes after Rabat issued a three-day deadline to expel 84 relief workers.

The expulsion includes members of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara and the African Union.

The kingdom is also announced it will stop a $3 million aid fund to the UN.

These orders are "unprecedented," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Remarks made by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon earlier this month sparked outrage across Morocco.

Following a visit to a camp in Algeria for refugees from the Western Sahara, Ban Ki-moon referred to the territorial status of the disputed region as occupied.

The Western Sahara has been administered by Rabat for over forty years.

Ban Ki-moon remarks led to protests in the Moroccan capital last week.

The UN also came under harsh criticism by Rabat.

While the Algerian-backed Polisario Front seek independence for the Western Sahara region, Morocco has ruled out the option.

Yet the UN continues to work on an independence referendum for the region.