From the Summary: "Since the 1970s, Morocco and the independence-seeking Popular Front for the Liberation of Saqiat al Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) have vied for control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory. In 1991, the United Nations arranged a cease-fire and proposed a settlement plan that called for a referendum to allow the people of the Western Sahara to choose between independence and integration into Morocco. A long deadlock on determining the electorate for a referendum ensued. The U.N. then unsuccessfully suggested alternatives to the unfulfilled settlement plan, particularly one formulated by James Baker. In recent years, it has called on the parties to negotiate. In April 2007, Morocco offered an autonomy plan, which does not offer the prospect of independence and is unlikely to end the impasse. The issue has affected Algerian-Moroccan bilateral relations and wider regional cooperation. The United States supports U.N. efforts and a solution that would not destabilize its ally, Morocco. Some Members of Congress support a referendum and are frustrated by delays. This report will be updated if developments warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RS20962