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Four Parties Agree To Western Sahara Talks

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Four Parties Agree To Western Sahara Talks

Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario Front have accepted a UN invitation to hold talks in December on ending the decades-old conflict in Western Sahara, according to UN officials.

The United Nations has repeatedly failed to broker a settlement over the north African territory, where Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario fought for control from 1975 to 1991.

Seeking to re-launch the political process, UN envoy Horst Koehler has invited the four parties to Geneva on December 5-6 for a first round of meetings that could pave the way to formal negotiations.

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Koehler, a former German president and ex-director of the International Monetary Fund, last month sent letters of invitation to the talks and set an October 20 deadline to respond.

Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front told the United Nations they would attend earlier this month. Algeria and Mauritania also recently said they would take part, according to a UN official.

The last round of UN-sponsored informal talks was held in 2012.

The preliminary talks may quickly hit a wall as Morocco maintains that negotiations on a settlement should focus on its proposal for autonomy for Western Sahara.

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The Polisario insists that the status of the territory should be decided in a referendum on independence.

Algeria also maintains that a solution to the conflict must uphold the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination.

The United Nations brokered a ceasefire deal between Morocco and the Polisario in 1990 that provided for a referendum, but the vote never materialized.

A small peacekeeping mission of some 700 personnel is monitoring the ceasefire line but the Security Council has put fresh pressure on the sides to return to the negotiating table.

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A settlement in Western Sahara would allow the UN mission there, known as MINURSO, to end its mission at a time when the United States is seeking to reduce the cost of peace operations.

In his invitation to the parties, seen by AFP, Koehler asked the sides to submit proposals for talks and has described the Geneva meeting as a round-table discussion.

The planned talks will be discussed at the Security Council later this month as it weighs a mandate renewal for MINURSO.

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African News

Zimbabwe Nurses Arrested As They Protest Over Pay

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Zimbabwe Nurses Arrested As They Protest Over Pay

The Zimbabwe nurses’ association says police have arrested 13 nurses during protests outside state hospitals on Monday.

The union, which represents nearly 15,000 state nurses, had called on members last week to go on strike over low salary.

The health workers are demanding to be paid in U.S. Dollars as inflation running at nearly 800% was eroding their salaries.

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Zimbabwe police arrested more than a dozen nurses, including, union representatives and leaders while a demonstration- against poor pay was ongoing at Zimbabwe’s biggest hospital in the capital Harare. The union said they had been told that the arrested health workers would appear in court on Tuesday.

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Nurses also gathered in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second biggest city, to demand better pay.

The protests, come at a time coronavirus cases are rising in the nation. Zimbabwe has recorded 734 infections and nine deaths.

President, Mnangagwa’s government announced a 50% salary hike for state employees last month and a $75 allowance for three months but workers said the increase was not reflected in their June salary.

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Zimbabwe’s lockdown measure to combat the spread of coronavirus have led to economic crisis.

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African News

DR Congo Health Workers Strike Over Non-Payment

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DR Congo Health Workers Strike Over Non-Payment

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, health workers battling the coronavirus pandemic in capital Kinshasa say they will continue to be on strike until they get paid.

Health workers say they last received their salary more than three months ago. They also allege they had been refused the right to sign contracts despite the risks associated with the covid-19, and if infected, a doctor or nurse was just sacked.

Nearly 7, 500 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in DR Congo. Most of the registered infections were found in the capital.

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South Africa Coronavirus Cases Pass 200,000

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South Africa Coronavirus Cases Pass 200,000

South Africa has surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases mark.

The country`s health minister Zweli Mkhize said four provinces were at risk of a surge now. He said there is a possibility of a lockdown for the affected provinces in Gauteng, western cape, eastern cape and Kwazulu-Natal.

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Covid-19 cases are soaring high in South Africa with thousands of new cases being reported daily.

The ministry of health said much more cases could have been experienced if the country had not enforced one of the strictest lockdowns on the continent. The country is involved in the human trials for a covid-19 vaccine developed by oxford university.

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South Africa is in the process of reopening schools for more students this week as it eases restrictions in phases.

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