Alvaro de Soto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Western Sahara, will hold consultations with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and senior Government officials during a two-day visit to Rabat starting on Monday.Mr. de Soto will then meet the leadership of the Frente POLISARIO (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro) on 12 September.UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters today that Mr. de Soto is also in contact with the neighbouring countries of Algeria and Mauritania about when he can hold talks with their government officials.In June Mr. de Soto’s responsibilities grew after the resignation of James A. Baker III, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.The UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, known by its French acronym MINURSO, has been in place since April 1991, when it was installed after years of fighting between Morocco and Frente POLISARIO following Spain’s withdrawal from the territory in 1976.MINURSO’s mandate is due to expire at the end of October, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan is scheduled to report to the Security Council on the mission’s progress that month.
BOBS WORTH AND Barry Geraghty won a thrilling renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup this afternoon as jumps racing’s finest festival winds to a close for another year.Sent off the 11/4 favourite, Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old stayed longest up the Cotswold course’s famous hill to win by a clear seven lengths from Irish challenger Sir des Champs (4/1).Long Run (7/2) , the 2011 winner also trained by Henderson, stayed on in third place.But the afternoon belonged to Bobs Worth who appeared to be slightly hampered when Ruby Walsh and Silviniaco Conti fell shortly before the turn for home.At that point, front-runner Long Run and Sir des Champs — trained by Willie Mullins and owned by Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary — were the two disputing the lead before Geraghty produced a textbook performance to reel them in and draw clear.With the day’s events overshadowed by thoughts of Irish amateur jockey JT McNamara, who fractured two vertebrae in a serious fall yesterday, Geraghty dedicated the win to his friend who remains in hospital. McNamara, 37, had surgery in Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital today and a further update on his condition is expected tomorrow.On the course, Ireland got the final day off to a flying start with winners in the day’s opening two races, both saddled by 20-year-old Kerry native Bryan Cooper.Cooper romped clear on board Our Conor, one of the hottest Irish prospects of the week, to win the JCB Triumph Hurdle by a massive 15 lengths, a performance so impressive that bookmakers immediately installed Dessie Hughes’ charge at 6/1 to win next year’s Champion Hurdle.Cooper followed up in the next when he drove home Tony Martin’s 10/1 shot Ted Veale to win the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle.The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle went to 11/8 favourite At Fishers Cross, the first winner of this year’s festival for jockey AP McCoy and owner JP McManus.There was heartbreak for Jane Mangan in the Foxhunters’ Chase Challenge Cup when Oscar Delta was pulling clear to win after the last before he sensationally ran out through the side fence and threw Mangan to the ground. Last year’s winner and 2/1 favourite Salsify, trained by Rodger Sweeney and ridden by his son Colman, took full advantage to win by a comfortable 20 lengths.LIVE: Cheltenham Festival, Day 4