Today’s statement renewed Guterres’ concerns over Polisario’s illegal moves challenging the status quo in the region, which led to Morocco’s intervention.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General, conveyed Guterres’ concerns in a statement. He warned against “violations of the ceasefire and the serious consequences of any changes to the status quo.”
The statement from Guterres came after Polisario’s repeated violations, which led Morocco’s armed forces to intervene on Thursday night and Friday morning to secure commercial and civilian traffic in the region.
Starting in September, Polisario launched a series of provocative maneuvers challenging the status quo in UN-restricted areas.
The UN and Morocco have long shared concerns regarding the crisis in the region, condemning Polisario’s illegal provocations.
One of the most recent statements from the UN against Polisario’s violations came less than a month ago, when the UN chief warned that “regular civil and commercial traffic must not be hampered.”
The top UN official also reiterated that no actors in the area can take any measure that would constitute a change to the status quo in the buffer zone.
In today’s statement, Guterres renewed his firm message, saying he “remains committed to doing his utmost to avoid the collapse of the ceasefire that has been in place” since September 1991.
He also vowed that he is determined to do everything possible to “remove all obstacles to the resumption of the political process.”
The UN also regretted that the efforts of its components, including MINURSO, were not able to resolve the situation without a crisis.
“MINURSO is committed to continue implementing its mandate and the Secretary-General calls on the parties to provide full freedom of movement for the Mission in accordance with its mandate,” the statement from the UN chief concluded.
Morocco’s armed forces announced Friday morning that they deployed military personnel in Guerguerat to ensure the flow of commercial and civil traffic after Polisario’s reluctance to leave the region.
The Royal Armed Forces emphasized that the intervention came without any ”bellicose intent,” describing the move as “non-offensive.”
Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani chaired an urgent meeting today, convening political party leaders and top officials to discuss the situation in Guerguerat.
Advisor of King Mohammed VI Fouad Ali El Himma attended the meeting along with Morocco’s Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit and Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bouirta.
El Othmani told the meeting’s attendees that the government informed the UN and the Security Council of all developments in the region.
“Morocco exercised for 22 days the utmost restraint,” but the country’s intervention was necessary after Polisario’s relectuance, El Othmani said.