Morocco has strongly condemned the provocative moves exerted by the Polisario Front in the restricted area of Guerguerat, stating that these moves reflect “the high pressure” put on the separatist group.
Moroccan daily Akhbar Al Yaoum discussed the issue with an unidentified Moroccan diplomat, who said that Polisario’s provocative actions in the buffer zone “were expected.”
“Morocco is aware that these provocative actions by Polisario will continue. This reflects the high pressure put on the Polisario, especially in its African strongholds,” disclosed the source.
On Wednesday, January 3 the Polisario Front stopped the race vehicle of two participants in a rally competition, closing the borders that link the disputed territory to the Mauritanian borders. Blocking the road for participants, the armed mercenaries of the Polisario Front checked the identity of the vehicle drivers before ordering them to leave the premises.
Morocco, according to the daily, strongly denounced the existence of the Polisario’ militias in the region, considering the move to be a violation of UN’s 2351 resolution on the regulation of the statues of the Guerguerat buffer strip.
Akhbar Al Yaoum’s source also recalled Morocco’s participation in the EU-AU Summit, which took place on November 29-30, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
“The summit revealed the degree of isolation that the Front is facing, and this is what sparked such provocative actions,” said the Moroccan diplomat.
The daily’s source added that Morocco has informed the MINURSO of the provocative move that was recently carried out by the Polisario in the buffer zone. The diplomat has affirmed that the MINURSO acted immediately to solve the issue, which led to the withdrawal of the front’s forces from the region.
The separatist front visibly expressed its envy and anger over Morocco’s return to the African Union and its notable involvement in Abidjan’s summit, which was marked by the Participation of King Mohammed VI personally.
During the summit, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Nasser Bourita, said that the presence of the so-called Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) delegation in the summit was not a “problem,” adding that their delegation is “invisible to Morocco.”
The official also recalled the African countries that withdrew their recognition of the so-called SADR, including Malawi. He added that the future will see other countries withdrawing their recognition of the separatist body.
Polisario’s provocative actions came in conjunction with the arrival of Colin Stewart, UN’s Special Representative for Western Sahara and the newly appointed head of MINURSO, in Laayoun on December 28, 2017.
In the end of December, the separatist group conducted a series of military maneuvers near the restricted region. On December 25, armed forces staged a “parade” with heavy military equipment, handed to the front by its supporter, Algeria. The military operations in the region were attended by members of the Algerian forces.
Polisario considers its provocative operations in the region as a direct threat to the United Nations, its mission in the region and to Morocco.
During the same month, Polisario’s leader Ibrahim Ghali addressed a letter to the United Nations’ chief, Antonio Guterres. In the letter, Ghali threatened the UN and Morocco to access the region, claiming that Morocco is violating the UN’s resolution on the buffer zone.
In a similar letter, the Front sent a letter earlier this month to Stewart, asking the UN to “ honor its commitments” and to “put pressure on Morocco” to stop “its violations and to implement international legitimacy in the Western Sahara conflict.”
Morocco, however, withdrew its forces from the buffer zone on February 28, 2017, when Guterres issued a statement asking both the disputants to withdraw from the region. Polisario withdrew its forces from the regions by force on April 30 after the UN put pressure on it by issuing a draft resolution “in blue” – meaning ready for adoption – on April 27.
The document ordered the separatist group to withdraw from the Guerguerat region or face a compulsory withdrawal.