Moroccan army ready to retaliate to Polisario’s provocations in Guerguerat

The Moroccan army is ready to retaliate to the slightest slip up of the Polisario elements, deployed in the buffer zone bordering the Moroccan border post of Guerguerat, several Moroccan media outlets reported.

In a new dangerous standoff with the Polisario militias, after that of December 2016, the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) are reportedly ready to respond to any provocation or attempt to obstruct traffic at the Guerguerat border crossing.

After it suffered a series of bitter diplomatic failures, the Polisario found no better way to mend his situation than to resort to provocation. It has thus deployed, at the instigation of its Algerian mentors, armed elements in the buffer zone, supposed to be a demilitarized area, in accordance with the 1991 UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement.

So far, Morocco has shown restraint, but patience has a limit and Moroccans cannot stand by and watch the Polisario mercenaries committing their provocative actions.

According to the Moroccan media, the Royal Armed Forces have been ordered to stand ready to open fire in the event of any side slipping of the Polisario elements near Guerguerat.

Early January, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, informed the UN Secretary-General “of the violations of the ceasefire and of other UN resolutions” by the Polisario. He even suggested that a stronger response from Morocco is not to be excluded.

Following Morocco’s move, Antonio Guterres was quick to warn the Polisario that “Regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip”.

Guterres also called on both parties to the conflict “to exercise maximum restraint and avoid escalation”.

But the Polisario leaders seemingly did not heed the warning as they persist in maintaining their pawns in the buffer strip at the risk of igniting an armed confrontation with untold consequences on the entire region.

The Polisario leaders and their Algerian mentors think that they can pressure the UN SG and his special representative for the Sahara, Colin Stewart, newly appointed head of MINURSO, to bring Morocco back to the negotiating table.


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