Rabat – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has sent a letter to Polisario’s leader Ibrahim Ghali, urging him to ease tension in the restricted buffer zone of Guerguerat.
Following a series of illegal maneuvers carried out by the separatist front in the buffer zone, the UN Chief addressed a strong message to Polisario, stressing the importance of stability in the buffer zone to avoid further escalation.
Stéphane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson affirmed on Tuesday during a press briefing that Guterres ordered the separatist front to comply with international regulations and to “avoid any operation likely to change status quo of that area.
Cuba’s news agency, Agencia de Noticias Latinoamerica S.A, reported that the UN top official reiterated his steady commitment to relaunch the political process of dialogue between Morocco and Polisario over the Western Sahara conflict.
Guterres’ new warning message came after his official statement issued on Saturday, January 6, where he expressed his deep concern over rising tensions near Guerguerat.
Guterres statement and his new letter followed a series of illegal maneuvers carried out by Polisario in the region. Members of the Polisario Front have been blocking trucks registered in Morocco from crossing the Moroccan-Mauritanian border.
Polisario has also threatened participants of Africa Eco-Rally from crossing the border, which led to the UN’s strong reactions and response.
The separatist group has been defying the 1991 ceasefire and military agreements signed between Morocco and the front. Polisario has also refused to comply with the orders of the UN chief.
On January 6, Guterres said that “regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the buffer strip.”
To respond to Polisario’s actions, Morocco’s Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces and Captain of the Southern Military zone issued orders to raise the state alert to the maximum level. Helicopters and troops were sent to the restricted zone in response to Polisario’s repeated armed maneuvers in the region.
The separatist provocative actions were continuously repeated since December 2017. Morocco has also contacted the MINURSO and the UN chief to denounce the presence of the armed elements of the separatist group, asking the mission to urge Polisario to withdraw from the region.