Italy has welcomed diplomat Steffan De Mistura's appointment as United Nations special envoy for Western Sahara, which it hopes will end the protracted stalemate in negotiations over the contested territory's status.
"Italy warmly welcomes the nomination of Staffan De Mistura as the UN secretary-general's special envoy for the Western Sahara," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
"We hope that the appointment will allow the protracted stalemate in the political process facilitated by the UN to be overcome. Italy re-extends its invitation to all sides to re-start negotiations on a negotiated political solution - without preconditions and in good faith in line with the principles of the UN charter and relevant UN Security Council resolutions."
The issue of Western Sahara has pitted Morocco against the independence-seeking Polisario Front, which is backed by Algeria.
The UN defines Western Sahara, a mineral-rich former Spanish colony, as a "non-self-governing territory". It brokered a ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario Front in 1991 and has been calling for a mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict.