Morocco urges UN to take action against Polisario’s provocative actions in Tifariti

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warns against any action likely to change status quo of Western Sahara.

CASABLANCA - Morocco strongly condemned the recent provocative actions carried out by the Algeria-backed Polisario Front in Tifariti, located east of Morocco’s defense wall, calling on The United Nations Security Council to take action against what it called a serious violation of the ceasefire, said the foreign ministry in a statement.

Tifariti is located east of the defense wall at the Mauritanian border. The Polisario separatists announced their intention to organise today a celebration of what they called "the outbreak of the armed struggle" with military parades and a foreign "diplomatic" presence.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned against any action likely to change the status quo of Western Sahara, adding that he was closely following the developments in the disputed territory.

“The Secretary-General is closely following the developments in the Sahara. In accordance with Security Council Resolution 2414 adopted on 27 April 2018, and in order to maintain an environment conducive to the resumption of dialogue under the auspices of his Personal Envoy Horst Köhler, the Secretary-General calls for maximum restraint,” said a statement issued the UN Chief’s Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.

The UN Security Council on April 27 backed a US-drafted resolution that called on Morocco and the Polisario Front to prepare for talks to settle the conflict. It renewed for six months the mandate of a UN mission that has been monitoring the ceasefire in Western Sahara since 1991.

Rabat stressed that “at a time when the Security Council calls for the relaunch of the political process with a view to reaching a realistic, pragmatic and sustainable solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, these acts of provocation by the other parties seriously undermine the efforts of the United Nations”.

Morocco called on the UN to fulfill its mandate in the face of the repeated violations of the ceasefire by the Polisario Front.

The North African kingdom criticised Algeria for its complicity in the escalation of the situation in Western Sahara.

“This neighbouring country, Algeria, is member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), but it violates the union’s charter, by closing its borders with Morocco and by sheltering on its soil an armed movement, that threatens the territorial integrity of another AMU member,” said the foreign ministry.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of its country. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.

Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.