Western Sahara: UN concerned about Polisario’s infiltration in Guerguerat

The UN Security Council (SC) reacted strongly Wednesday to the infiltration of elements of the Polisario Front in the buffer zone of Guerguerat in the southernmost tip of Morocco.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their concern over the situation in Guerguerat, and recalled the importance of maintaining the status quo, as mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, as well as the need for the full implementation of Resolution 2351”, which called for the immediate withdrawal of the Polisario militia from this buffer zone in April 2017, said Dutch Ambassador to the UN Karel Van Oosterom, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.  

On the occasion of the presentation by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, of his first briefing on the Sahara issue, the Security Council made it clear that there should be no change in the status quo of the buffer zone near Guerguerat, Van Oosterom said.

The Polisario has set foot in various buffer zones that it calls “liberated territories” in violation of the 1991 cease-fire agreement that placed these demilitarized lands under the exclusive control of the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), to avoid any clashes between the conflicting parties.

Reacting to the repeated incursions of the Polisario’s armed militias into the buffer zones and particularly in Guerguerat, where is located the only border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania, the Security Council expressed “full support” for the efforts of the Personal Envoy, and “welcomed his recent bilateral meetings with the parties and neighboring countries to re-launch the negotiation process with a new dynamic and in a new spirit, leading to the resumption of a political process under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General,” said Van Oosterom.

The Dutch ambassador’s statement came after the briefings of the Personal Envoy for the Sahara, Horst Köhler, and the UN Under-Secretary-General for peace, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.

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