Polisario’s leadership declared an end to the ceasefire on November 14.
Rabat – France on Tuesday joined a growing chorus of welcome for Morocco’s commitment to its ceasefire with Polisario.
Morocco acted on November 13 in the Guerguerat buffer zone to end a Polisario blockade.For more than three weeks, the separatist group’s illegal occupation at the border crossing stopped the flow of civil and commercial traffic between Morocco and Mauritania .
The country’s Royal Armed Forces was able to lift the blockade and restore and secure the flow of traffic peacefully, without violating the nearly three-decades-old ceasefire.
A spokesperson of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that France welcomes Morocco’s commitment to the ceasefire, noting that it “must be preserved, just as the political process must be relaunched within the framework of the United Nations.”
Morocco’s position has consistently aligned with the UN’s call for pragmatism, with a view to achieving a mutually acceptable, sustainable end to the conflict.
The French ministry’s spokesperson declared that the country is following the events in Guerguerat closely, noting that it has publicly expressed concern about the blockade.
The official also stressed the importance of maintaining the free movement of goods and people in the region.
As soon as Moroccco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR) announced on the evening of November 13 that it had “completely secured” the border crossing of Guerguerat, the Mauritanian media and public expressed relief.
The Polisario-led blockade left Mauritanian markets in worry with a lack of goods coming from Morocco and 200 Moroccan truck drivers stranded south of the border.
Mauritanian newspaper Al Wiam commended Morocco’s action to end the blockade.
The newspaper said Morocco’s operation was a “humanitarian” one, arguing it helped clear the way for much-needed commercial activities between Morocco and Mauritania.
One day after Morocco’s successful action, Polisario’s leadership claimed it was a breach of the ceasefire.
In an analysis about the legal framework of Morocco’s operation, French jurist Jean-Yves de Cara said that Morocco’s action was not one of aggression, but of defense, arguing that Polisario’s provocations forced the move.
“It is therefore up to the Polisario to put an end to provocations and violations of international law and human rights in the region, to respect the status of the area.”
The ceasefire that Morocco signed with Polisario in 1991 came with the creation of the buffer zone of Guerguerat.
France’s tacit support for Morocco’s legitimate operation in Guerguerat follows the support of several Arab and African countries.
Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are the Arab countries that have welcomed Morocco’s operation.
In Africa, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Zambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Djibouti, Comoros, and the Central African Republic also expressed support for Morocco’s action in Guerguerat.