Morocco says to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

Morocco said on Sunday it will pull back from a zone of the contested Western Sahara that has raised tensions with Algeria-backed Polisario Front separatists.
“The Kingdom of Morocco will proceed from today with a unilateral withdrawal from the (Guerguerat) zone,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
It said the decision was taken by King Mohamed VI at the request of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Rabat now “hopes the secretary general’s intervention will allow a return to the previous situation in the zone concerned, keep its status intact, allow the flow of normal road traffic and thus safeguard the ceasefire”, it said.
In a telephone call to Guterres on Friday, the king called on the United Nations to take urgent measures to end “provocation” by the Polisario Front threatening a 1991 ceasefire.
Morocco insists that the former Spanish colony is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination.

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