NEW YORK, New York 30 August 2016 – On 28 August, 2016, the Frente POLISARIO deployed military forces to the Al Guargarat area of Western Sahara in response to Morocco’s violation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement.
The deployment is to prevent further Moroccan activities beyond the military wall (the “Berm”) and to bring back conditions for resumed political process on Western Sahara.
In a letter to the Chief of Staff of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) peacekeeping mission, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) Defense Minister Abdallahi Lehbib Belal said, “It is only by exerting the appropriate pressure on the Kingdom of Morocco to fully respect Military Agreement Number 1, and to immediately end its activities, that the tension thus created would decrease, so as the two parties and the UN could contribute to the maintaining of the ceasefire and consequently enhancing the faith in the UN-led peace process.”
Since 11 August, Moroccan occupation forces in Western Sahara have repeatedly crossed the Moroccan military wall in the Al Guargarat zone in defiance of Military Agreement Number 1 of the ceasefire, which prohibits any work or deployment in a 5km strip along the wall. The POLISARIO urged the UN Security Council to call for the immediate withdrawal of Moroccan personnel and asked MINURSO to install a permanent observation post in the area to calm the situation and prevent future incursions.
Morocco’s hostile activities Al Guargarat, in violation of the ceasefire agreement, are ongoing despite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s 28 August statement to halt any action that “alters that status quo.” The Frente POLISARIO remains committed to its obligations under the ceasefire agreement.
Frente POLISARIO MINURSO Coordinator Emhamed Khadad stated, “Morocco’s aggression in the Al Guargarat area is part of a familiar pattern of behavior. Whenever political progress is in sight, Rabat takes action to create a crisis and ensure that the Security Council is distracted from its efforts to relaunch negotiations. Security Council members must see this intransigence for what it is and not allow Morocco to unilaterally prevent diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.”