Morocco and Western Sahara's independence movement will hold another round of talks near New York next week to seek progress on Africa's longest running territorial dispute, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.
Moroccan and Polisario Front officials will hold informal U.N.-mediated discussions at Manhasset on Long Island from Dec. 16-18, spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony in northwest Africa that was annexed by Morocco in 1975, sparking a rebellion by Polisario. The United Nations brokered a cease-fire in 1991, but a political settlement has eluded negotiators.
Seven rounds of formal and informal talks since 2007 have produced no movement on the core issue. Rabat is offering self-rule to Sahara within Morocco, but Polisario demands a referendum with full independence as one option.
The last round of talks at Manhasset last month resulted in agreement to pursue limited confidence-building measures, such as visits between families divided by the conflict, and to step up the pace of negotiations.
U.N. mediator Christopher Ross also said at the time that the two sides had agreed to pursue "innovative approaches" to the dispute, but no details have so far emerged.