Morocco says committed to Western Sahara truce

2016-09-10 20:03
Western Sahara

Western Sahara

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rabat - Morocco's envoy to the United Nations has said Rabat is committed to a ceasefire in Western Sahara after the UN voiced fears of renewed hostilities in the disputed territory.

A 1991 UN-brokered truce ended 16 years of conflict between Morocco, which maintains that Western Sahara is an integral part of its kingdom and the Algiers-backed Polisario Front independence movement.

But tensions flared in recent weeks after Morocco began road works in the Guerguerat area south of a buffer zone separating the two sides and close to the Mauritania border.

A confidential UN report sent to the Security Council in late August accused both Morocco and the Polisario of truce violations after they sent security forces and fighters into the buffer zone.

"The situation remains tense in the Guerguerat area of Western Sahara inside the buffer strip," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday.

"Any resumption of hostilities, with the potential to have wider regional implications, remains of significant concern to the UN," he said.

But ambassador Omar Hilale told the official Moroccan news agency MAP on Friday that the situation was under control, as he sought to ease UN concerns.

"Morocco is ready to confront any aggression, but at the same time it will observe restraint and remains committed to the ceasefire," Hilale said.

He said the work consists of rehabilitating a 3.5-kilometre (two-mile) stretch of road that had been used by "small arms traffickers, people smugglers, as well as drug and car traffickers".

Morocco has assured the Security Council that the work in Guerguerat is "purely civilian" and "limited in time", said Hilale.

But the work was "strategic" and Morocco was "determined" to complete it.

The UN spokesperson said Wednesday that the construction has been met with resistance by Polisario Front fighters, who are separated from Moroccan troops by only around 120 metres (yards).

The UN is "actively engaging with the parties and key member states to urge restraint and identify options for an acceptable solution to the current crisis", Dujarric said.

Read more on:    un  |  western sahara  |  north africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.