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Press Statement
Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 7, 2009


Ambassador Christopher Ross Selected as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara

The United States welcomes the Secretary-General’s announcement of Ambassador Christopher Ross as his Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara. Ambassador Ross has had a long and distinguished career with the United States Government, including appointments as Ambassador to Algeria and Syria and postings in Libya, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel, and Iraq. Most recently, Ambassador Ross served as Special Advisor to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs attached to the Office of Iraq Affairs. He also served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on Middle Eastern and North African issues during the 61st and 62nd General Assembly meetings in 2006 and 2007. We wish Ambassador Ross the best as he takes up his new position with the United Nations. We look forward to his continuation of the excellent work of his predecessor Peter van Walsum, whose intellectual leadership, professionalism, and dedication were exemplary.

With the efforts made during the previous rounds of talks and the other developments that have taken place since 2006, we look forward to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1754, 1783, and 1813. We welcome the prospect of a further round of talks between Morocco and the Polisario early in 2009. We urge both parties to quickly accept invitations to the next round of talks mediated by Ambassador Ross, and to continue to negotiate without preconditions and in good faith with a spirit of realism and compromise toward a just, lasting and mutually-acceptable political solution.

2009/019

Released on January 7, 2009

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