Morocco says committed to Western Sahara truce

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, September 12, 2016
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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.

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