Buttered wants Morocco, Polisario Front to douse tension in Western Sahara

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 27, 2017

Representative of the Polisario Front Ahmed Boukhari held talks Friday at the UN headquarters with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to whom he handed a message from Sahrawi President Brahim Ghali on the unsafe deadlock in the UN process since many years, Sahrawi representation in NY told APS Friday.

Morocco on Sunday announced the withdrawal of its forces from a United Nations buffer zone in the disputed Western Sahara territory, where for months they had been in a standoff with troops from the Polisario independence movement.

Western Sahara is located on the north-west coast of Africa bordered by Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria.

"France calls on all parties to show responsibility and to unconditionally and immediately withdraw all armed elements from the region, in accordance with the ceasefire agreements", spokesman of the French Foreign ministry, Romain Nadal, said.

In a tacit reference to Polisario elements' obstruction of Moroccan trucks crossing to Mauritania, the United Nations chief stressed that "regular commercial traffic should not be obstructed and that no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip".

The stalemate maintained by Morocco has been exacerbated by the fraught situation in Alguergarat area where Morocco seeks to build a road crossing the territories controlled by the Polisario Front.

The military moves last year were one of the most tense in recent years between Morocco and Polisario, which declared an independent republic in the disputed desert land in the 1970s and fought a guerrilla war with Morocco until a 1991 ceasefire. In approving the current phase of direct negotiations in 2007, the UN Security Council called for "a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political settlement which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara".

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