The statement comes amid reports of Polisario’s disruption of civil and commercial traffic in the buffer zone between Morocco and Mauritania.
Rabat – Local dignitaries in Tarfaya, a small town in southern Morocco, have condemned the Polisario Front’s “provocations” and unwelcome “separatist” agenda.
“Elected officials, Shioukhs (tribal leaders) and notables of the Sahrawi tribes in the province of Tarfaya have denounced the creation of entities hostile to the territorial integrity” of Morocco, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported on Sunday.
The southern province’s local notables made the remarks in “a statement read at the end of a meeting held Saturday,” according to the report.
In their statement, the Sahrawi notables outlined both their attachment to their Morocanneness and their commitment to Morocco’s territorial integrity.
They also emphasized Morocco’s documented development efforts in its southern provinces, disputing Polisario’s claims of being the legitimate representative of the “Sahrawi nationalist” movement.
Polisario “separatists… and their supporters” only seek to undermine Morocco’s integrity and its efforts to bring socio-economic prosperity to its southern provinces, the Tarfaya dignitaries argued.
As the statement comes amid reports of Polisario’s “provocations” in the buffer zone in Western Sahara, Tarfaya locals also seized the occasion to condemn Polisario’s recent “provocative” moves.
According to the statement, reports of pro-Polisario sit-ins or demonstrations are part of “provocative acts that are repeated every time the maneuvers, allegations and lies of the separatists and their supporters in the eastern neighborhood are exposed and denied.”
This is not the first time that Sahrawi locals have dismissed pro-Polisario claims and expressed their attachment to Morocco and its territorial integrity.
Last year, Polisario and its supporters challenged the EU-Morocco fisheries agreements, urging the EU to disavow the deals because they legitimate Morocco’s “illicit” and “illegal” appropriation of “Sahrawi resources.”
In response, a number of elected Sahrawis petitioned for the renewal of the agreements, saying that Morocco is “the only legitimate representative of our interests and of our will.” In addition to lambasting Polisario’s “separatist claims,” the petition drew attention to Morocco’s investments in development projects in the regions of Laayoune and Dakhla.
“Since our country completed its territorial integrity by recovering its southern provinces, it has made significant efforts towards their sustainable development,” said the petition. “The benefits from our country’s commitment to the development of our southern provinces are well established. The southern provinces are now ranked above the national average for human development indicators.”
Earlier this week, a group of Sahrawi tribal leaders in the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region also rejected Polisario’s claims, describing them as “desperate maneuvers” to both sabotage Morocco’s investments in the region and win international sympathy.