Western Sahara, a territory on the north-west coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria, was under Spanish control until 1976. Both Morocco and Mauritania affirmed their claim to the territory, a claim opposed by the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO), and fighting ensued. These tensions led to the establishment of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) in 1991, in accordance with the settlement plan for a transitional period for the preparation of a referendum, in which the people of Western Sahara would choose between independence and integration with Morocco. Despite that the ceasefire has generally held since that time, negotiations between the two sides have repeatedly deadlocked, and a referendum has yet to occur.
Today, MINURSO continues to monitor the ceasefire and reduce the threat of landmines and UXOs.