Rabat – The Polisario Front has reportedly sent a letter to Colin Stewart, the newly appointed UN Special Representative for Western Sahara and the New head of MINURSO, threatening to access the restricted zone of Guerguerat.
According to a pro-separatist news outlet, the front has urged 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.” It is only through these conditions Polisario claims to maintain “the continuity of the peace process.
The Polisario Front has also accused Morocco of violating the UN Security Council resolution on the regulation of the statues of the Guerguerat buffer strip.
The Polisario has threatened Morocco and the UN by stating it will reenter and deploy its armed militias in the restricted area of Guerguerat. The separatist group said that “it will not stand idly while there are violations committed by Morocco.”
The resolution, which was adopted by the UN on April 28, 2017, underscored the importance of “full respect of the military agreements reached with [ the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara] with regard to the ceasefire and calls on the parties to adhere fully to those agreements.”
Stewart arrived in Laayoun on December 28 in order to conduct an evaluation of the mission’s performance in the region.
In the past few weeks, the Polisario has been conducting military maneuvers near Guerguerat, with heavy equipment received from the Algerian army. According to Al Massae daily, Polisario’s armed forces conducted a series of military operations near the Guerguerat strip zone. The last military maneuvers were conducted on December 25 in the presence of Algerian army officials.
The separatist front stated that this “military parade” was a “special forces” exercise of live ammunition.
According to the Moroccan daily, Algerian generals who attended the event supervised the delivery of heavy machinery and equipment to the separatist front, in fulfillment of what they described as “the absolute support provided by Algeria.”
The front has been threatening to re-enter the buffer zone since its withdrawal from the region due to the pressure put against it from the UN Security Council.
At the end of last month, Polisario’s leader Ibrahim Ghali addressed a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, accusing Morocco of violating UN’s 2351 resolution of April 28, 2017.
In February 2017, Guterres issued a statement, where he called on the “parties to unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the buffer zone as soon as possible to create an environment conducive to a resumption of the dialogue in the context of the political process led by the United Nations.”
Morocco was first to withdraw from the buffer strip on February 2. However, the separatist group did not accept the UN’s request until April 30, after a draft resolution on Western Sahara was submitted “in blue” meaning ready for adoption- to the secretariat of the UN Security Council on Thursday, April 27.
The draft resolution put high pressure on Polisario, urging it to withdraw from the Guerguerat region or face a compulsory withdrawal The Security Council expressed its “deep concern with the continued presence of elements of the Polisario Front in the buffer strip in Guerguerat,” asking for its immediate and “unconditional withdrawal from the region.”