Rabat – In a phone conversation with Mauritania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale commented on this week’s UN-led Western Sahara discussion being held in Geneva.In his conversation, Hale said that the US supported efforts made by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Horst Kohler. According to Mauritania’s state-owned news agency AMI, Hale said that his country also backs any “initiative that aims to end the Western Sahara conflict,” hoping that an end will soon be reached. Read Also: Western Sahara: Guterres Urges All Parties to Engage in UN Discussion Without PreconditionsWeeks before the kick off of the roundtable and the adoption of Resolution 2240, Hale and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.Moroccan analysts speculated that Guterres might have been trying to convince the US to vote for a one-year extension for MINURSO. The Security Council, however, voted for a six-month extension for the mandate of MINURSO on October 31.The two-day roundtable discussion, which began yesterday and continues today, is held behind closed doors. Morocco’s delegation is led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.None of the members of the delegations have commented on the roundtable yet. The delegation includes three Sahrawis: President of the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region Sidi Hamdi Ould Errachid; President of the Dakhla-Oued Eddahab region Ynja Khattat; and Fatima Adli, a member of the Smara municipal council.The presence of Sahrawis in the delegation angered pro-Polisario news outlets, including “Futuro Sahara.” The news outlet called the Sahrawis representing Morocco in the Geneva talks “traitors.”The three Sahrawis represents a significant message from Morocco as it strengthens the legitimate representation of Sahrawis.Moroccan analysts predict that the negotiations are unlikely to lead to future negotiations as long as Algeria does not admit playing a role in the conflict.
Venezuela’s president replaces longtime oil chief as part of cabinet shakeup by The Associated Press Posted Sep 2, 2014 8:45 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CARACAS, Venezuela – President Nicolas Maduro has replaced the Venezuela’s longtime oil minister and economic czar as part of a cabinet shakeup sidelining the most-prominent voice within his administration for much-needed reforms to address the country’s economic crisis.Rafael Ramirez had served as oil minister and president of the state-run oil giant PDVSA for more than a decade.Maduro made the announcement Tuesday night as part of a much-anticipated government restructuring. The president named Ramirez the new foreign minister.Ramirez will be replaced in his previous jobs by lesser-known officials. He was also forced to give up his year-old post as top economic policy maker, from which he had argued for a currency overhaul and unpopular gas price hikes to help Venezuela tackle an economic crisis marked by 60 per cent inflation.