The UN envoy for Western Sahara has said that a peaceful solution to the region’s conflict could be possible, after the parties met for the first talks since 2012, reports AFP news agency.

Morocco and the Polisario Front, which fought a war over the region until a 1991 ceasefire, have just taken part in two days of discussions along with Algeria and Mauritania.

UN envoy Horst Koehler told reporters in Geneva that he was “very pleased” to say the parties have agreed to further talks at the beginning of next year.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told reporters that there had been “a very good atmosphere” during the talks. But he added that “it is not enough… A good atmosphere should be translated into a genuine will”.

Western Sahara has been the subject of a territorial dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front since 1975.

In a UN-brokered deal in 1991, a referendum on independence was promised to determine the future of the region but it is yet to take place.