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With a population of about 600,000 on territory covering roughly 266,000 square kilometers, Western Sahara, a Spanish colony until 1975, is the largest of 17 non-self-governing territories listed by the United Nations as having not reached final political status. The territory has been in limbo for much of the last four decades, with Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front both asserting claims to the territory. Morocco controls about 80 percent; the Polisario Front holds the remaining 20 percent, on the border with Algeria.Second, I was to consider how well those activities conform to U.N. doctrine on natural-resource exploitation in non-self-governing territories – namely, that they benefit the territory and its inhabitants until Western Sahara's ultimate political status is determined.Mauritania left in 1979, leaving Morocco to confront the Polisario Front, which had announced its claims to the territory in the last years of Spanish control.Members of the U.N. peacekeeping force were expelled, and later readmitted to the territory.
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