Dozens of United Nations international staffers pulled out of their Western Sahara mission Sunday after Morocco demanded they leave because of remarks by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the disputed territory.

Last week Morocco ordered the United Nations to withdraw 84 international civilian personnel from MINURSO, its peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara. It said the move was a response to Ban's "unacceptable" remarks.

Rabat accused Ban earlier this month of no longer being neutral in the Western Sahara dispute when he used the word "occupation" to describe its annexation of the region in 1975, when Morocco took over from colonial power Spain.