Rabat - The United Nations Security Council has expressed its concerns over the situation in the buffer zone of Guerguerat, which has witnessed a series of illegal operations carried out by the militias of the Polisario Front.
Rabat – The United Nations Security Council has expressed its concerns over the situation in the buffer zone of Guerguerat, which has witnessed a series of illegal operations carried out by the militias of the Polisario Front.
After the meeting between UN officials, including the UN Personal Envoy Horst Kohler and Head of MINURSO Colin Stewart, Dutch ambassador to the UN Karel van Oosterom said that that “the members of the Security Council expressed their concern out the situation in Guerguerat,” emphasizing the importance of “maintaining the status quo, as mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General,” issued in April 2017.
Oosterom added that “there should be no change in the status of the buffer zone,” a warning that has been repeatedly violated by the Polisario Front in recent months.
The UN official stressed that the Security Council has also underscored the need for the “full implementation of resolution 2351,” which calls upon parties to resume negotiations and work together to find a solution to the conflict, while reaffirming concerns about the violations of existing agreements, including the 1991 ceasefire deal.
The resolution also welcomed “the recent steps and initiatives taken by Morocco, and the role played by the National Council on Human Rights Commissions operating in Dakhla and Laayoune, and Morocco’s interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council.”
In his April report, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres urged the Polisario Front to exercise the immediate withdrawal from the Guerguerat buffer zone.
Guterres also said that he “remains deeply concerned about the continued presence of armed elements of the Polisario Front in this region and about the challenges this poses to the raison d’être of this buffer zone,” while also acknowledging that this situation could “lead to the collapse of the ceasefire” and erupt with a “dangerous impact” on the security and stability of the entire region.
The separatist group has been staging illegal maneuvers in the Western Sahara buffer zones for several months, despite the continuous warning issued by the UN Secretary-General. Their provocative actions are ongoing, with the separatist group announcing recently that it will relocate the headquarters of its “defense ministry” to the buffer zone Bir Lahlou.
During their Wednesday briefing, the council expressed “full support” for Kohler’s efforts, welcoming his recent bilateral meetings with the parties to the conflict, which aim to relaunch the negotiation process with a new dynamic.
The Dutch ambassador to the UN said that the council members “have stressed the importance of maintaining a constructive commitment in order to advance the political process.”
Kohler agreed, saying that he had “a very encouraging meeting with the members of the Council.”
Commenting on the briefing, French ambassador to the UN François Delattre told reporters that the Council held “very good consultations” on the Sahara issue.