Morocco’s ambassador in Spain said the country’s diplomatic efforts were in vain as the separatist group refused to leave the region, even after warnings from the UN.
Rabat – The Moroccan Ambassador in Spain, Karima Benyaich, said Morocco pursued diplomacy and dialogue regarding the Guerguerat crisis before acting to secure the cross-border flow of goods and civilians.
Morocco’s government addressed the UN and its Security Council to alert them about the situation in Guerguerat near the Moroccan-Mauritanian border. Polisario had staged a blockade of the border crossing, which is in the UN buffer zone, since October 21.
After the UN and its peacekeeping operation in Western Sahara, MINURSO, failed to intervene, Morocco’s government sent its military to restore stability in the region on November 13.
“Since elements of the Polisario entered the buffer zone on October 21, violating the ceasefire, Morocco has turned to all diplomatic channels that are necessary with the UN before intervening to restore order and restore the free movement of people and goods,” Benyaich stressed.
The Moroccan ambassador made her remarks on Saturday evening during the program Fin de Semana on the Spanish national radio station “RNE.”
The diplomat recalled that the actions of Polisario in the region are not exclusive. She underlined that the separatist group violated the ceasefire in the region over 50 times, citing the UN Secretary-General’s October 2020 report on the situation in Western Sahara.
Benyaich said Morocco intervened in a “responsible and measured manner” in Guerguerat to secure civil and commercial traffic in an important area for trade, not only between Morocco and Mauritania but also between Europe and Africa.
Due to continuous setbacks in the Western Sahara dossier, Polisario turned to fake news to mislead public opinion and international media, attempting to earn sympathy for its “revolutionary” cause.
“The Polisario is not a state, so it does not have the responsibility to be credible and transparent as is the case with Morocco,” the Moroccan diplomat said.
In addition to Polisario’s maneuvers in the buffer zone, separatist supporters stormed the Consulate General of Morocco in Valencia on November 15.
A group of violent Polisario supporters vandalized the consulate, removing Morocco’s flag to hoist their separatist “flag.”
Morocco and Spain condemned the act of violence at the consulate.
Ambassador Benyaich also spoke about the cooperation between Morocco and Spain, describing it as “excellent.”
She said the partnership between the two countries is “not limited to the migration issue and the distinguished relationship between the interior ministries.”
As well, Morocco-Spain ties encompass other political, economic, and social aspects, making bilateral relations “excellent.”
Rabat and Madrid cooperate in “regular and exemplary manager,” the Moroccan diplomat said.
She added that thanks to the strong cooperation between the two countries, the flow of irregular migrants arriving in Spain decreased by nearly 60% in recent years.
The statement echoes the warm remarks that Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska delivered during his visit to Morocco earlier this week.
The visit of the Spanish interior minister is the seventh of its kind since his appointment in June 2018.
Ambassador Benyaich said that such visits “undoubtedly reflects the excellence and quality of the relations between the two countries.”