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RABAT, Morocco (AP) — The United Nations’ new special envoy for the disputed Western Sahara has met with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and government ministers as part of his first tour of the region.

Horst Kohler, A former president of Germany, is also expected to visit refugee camps in Algeria for Saharawi refugees who fled the territory.

Moroccan state news agency MAP reports that the king received Kohler on Tuesday at the royal palace in Rabat. Kohler also met with Prime Minister Saâdeddine El Othmani and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

Some hope Kohler brings new impetus for a long-delayed referendum on Western Sahara’s future.

The U.N. has a peacekeeping mission monitoring a 1991 cease-fire between Moroccan forces and the independence-seeking Polisario Front. Morocco annexed the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975.