Morocco has handed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Gterres and to the President of the Security Council, Peru’s Permanent Representative Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, several evidences of the Algeria-backed Polisario’s breaches of the 1991 ceasefire in the Sahara.
At separate meetings with the two UN officials Wednesday in New York, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita explained the serious developments taking place in the buffer area, east of the Moroccan defense wall in the Moroccan Sahara and presented facts, satellite photos and other proofs concerning these inadmissible acts.
“The clear message that Morocco has conveyed today to both the presidency of the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General, is a warning message. The situation is serious, and what’s happening in this area is not business as usual. We are in a change in the legal and historical status of the area east of the defense system,” Bourita told the international media accredited to the UN after his meetings.
These meetings were an opportunity to recall that the UNSG’s Special Representative and head of the MINURSO, Colin Stewart, has not yet met with the polisario, because the separatist front has imposed a condition: that the meeting takes place in Tifariti or Bir Lahlou (part of the demilitarized area) and not in Tindouf, in Algeria, as has been the case since the creation of MINURSO, Bourita said.
The Foreign Minister who described imposing the meeting venue as “a dangerous precedent,” said “the Polisario is thus blackmailing the MINURSO and the SG’s Special Representative”.
He said he also showed his interlocutors a letter, dated March 24, addressed by the Polisairo to the commander of the UN military force, whereby it informed the MINURSO of its plans to set up fixed military posts in the buffer area.
Furthermore, “the Polisairo, encouraged by Algeria, mentioned the deployment of some of its structures from Tindouf to this area. There has been talk of the transfer from Tindouf to Tifariti or Bir Lahlou of a so-called ministry of defense, a so-called presidency of the republic, a national secretariat,” the Moroccan Foreign Minister added.
Morocco also shared with the Secretary-General satellite photos showing underway constructions. “Images dated August 8 show foundations were dug in this area, and images of March 26 show finished buildings and military barracks. A lot of construction has been done between August and now in this area,” Bourita stated in his media briefing, adding this evidences the Polisario’s plans to change the nature and status of this area.
“Morocco, in sharing this information, has made it clear that it cannot tolerate such a change,” he said. “If the international community, the Security Council and the United Nations do not take responsibility, Morocco will assume its responsibility to prevent such a change, and to check such a challenge to international legality and UN resolutions, and to thwart such a threat to peace and stability in this region”.
Morocco, which has always favored peace at home, and even abroad with all its contributions to peacekeeping operations, “warns that what is happening is intolerable, and will call for a reaction from Morocco, if the Security Council and the United Nations do not take responsibility, Nasser Bourita insisted.
Thursday in Rabat, the head of the government, Saad-Eddine El Othmani, reaffirmed during the weekly cabinet council that Morocco was resolute to face up all the separatist maneuvers aimed at changing the legal status of the buffer zone.
“Morocco rejects the separatists’ attempt to impose the fait accompli policy in the buffer zone and initiate changes of a civilian, urban or military nature,” he warned, recalling that “Morocco has always insisted on the full implementation of the 1991 ceasefire agreement granting the region a special status, making of it a buffer zone”.
“This is a Moroccan region, but in agreement with the UN, Morocco has accepted the establishment of a buffer zone for the sole purpose of easing tension,” he said.