The maneuvers carried out by Polisario east of Morocco’s defense wall violate all UN resolutions on the conflict.
Rabat – On Sunday, Polsiario’s “army” carried out a provocative military maneuver in Mehriz, a town east of Morocco’s berm wall in Western Sahara.
The “official” news agency of the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Sahara Press Service, reported that the separatist army conducted a “military maneuver in the fourth military region in Mehriz,” a region the Polisario Front claims a “liberated zone” in Western Sahara.
The maneuver, added the agency, was supervised by the self-proclaimed leader of the front, Ibrahim Ghali.
The provocative move might escalate tension between Morocco and the separatist group because both Morocco and the UN warned Polisario of taking any action that might change the status quo of the region.
The Sahara Press Service said that the region also witnessed the “destruction of the eighth and last stockpile of antipersonnel mines.”
Through this move, the front is violating UN Security Council Resolution 2440, which called on the front to “fully adhere to its commitments to the Personal Envoy” with respect to the buffer zone and other areas in Western Sahara east of Morocco’s defense berm. The resolution also called on the separatist group to refrain from changing the status quo.
The UN also banned any meeting between foreign officials outside of the Tindouf camps in Algeria, urging Polisario to stop relocating or constructing any facilities in the areas that Polisario has long claimed as “liberated zones.”
The military maneuver in Mehriz followed Polsiario’s defiant threats to disrupt participants of the Monaco-Dakar Rally.
Earlier this month, pro-Polisario news outlet Futurosahara reported that “the Monaco-Dakar Rally organizers ignore the Sahrawi authorities’ warnings for the second year in a row.”
The maneuvers might also hamper the efforts of the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Horst Kohler, who managed to convene the parties to the conflict in a roundtable of talks in Geneva in December 2018.
The Moroccan government has responded to Polisario’s recent threat to the Monaco-Dakar rally in emphasizing that such maneuvers will put the separatist group in confrontation with the UN and not Morocco.
On January 3, Moroccan Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said that “from the start of the ceasefire in the 1990s until today Morocco has been firm and will remain resolute and will continue to be firm on these provocations.”