John Bellavance described Polisario’s acts in the buffer zone as “banditry.”
Rabat – The Vice-President of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) in Australia, John Bellavance, welcomed the “peaceful” action of Morocco in Guerguerat to restore traffic across the border with Mauritania.
After three weeks of the Polisario-led blockade of the Guerguerat border crossing, Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces carried out a “non-offensive” operation on November 13 to establish a security cordon and clear the way for the movement of goods and people.
Bellavance welcomed Morocco’s action and described the acts of Polisario militias as “banditry,” for halting trade between Morocco and Mauritania, harassing local civilians, and destroying the Guerguerat road’s asphalt.
Morocco’s action in Guerguerat enjoyed the support of several countries, including in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and a number of international organizations, such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab Parliament.
Due to Polisario’s illegal blockade of the Guerguerat road, which left 200 Moroccan truck drivers stranded south of the border, Mauritanian markets suffered a significant rise in the prices of essential goods and agricultural products.
These impacts made Morocco’s successful operation in Guerguerat appear humanitarian in character in the eyes of many Mauritanian people and media outlets, who expressed relief the day of FAR’s intervention.
Bellavance expressed his solidarity with the “responsible” measures that King Mohammed VI took in compliance with international law to preserve the country’s territorial integrity and the security of citizens, according to Morocco’s state media.
Putting Morocco’s action in a legitimate framework, the UPF-Australia vice president recalled that Morocco alerted the UN Secretary-General, senior UN officials, members of the Security Council, and neighboring states of Polisario’s violations prior to the November 13 action.
He welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to reach a “negotiated, just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution” in Western Sahara.
In recent years, the international community has increasingly welcomed Morocco’s 2007 Autonomy Plan as a pragmatic, compromise-based solution to the dispute.
Notably, on October 30 at the UN Security Council, representatives of France said the Moroccan autonomy proposal constitutes a “serious and credible” solution for the Western Sahara dispute.