The UN Security Council is reportedly planning to confine the Polisario militias to Tindouf to force them abide by the UN ceasefire agreements of 1991 and respect the demilitarized zone in the Moroccan Sahara.
Actually, the separatist front has been conducting incursions in the buffer zone for 27 years, in complete violation of the 1991 agreements.
According to local daily Assabah, which reported the news, this Friday (April 13), the Security Council is studying ways to abolish the demilitarized zones, located east and south of the security wall, erected by the Moroccan army in the eighties.
The aim is to avoid a new war, or even clashes between the Polisario militia and the Moroccan army, as tension has been escalating because of the Polisario’s repeated incursions in the buffer zone and as Morocco made it clear that it will no longer tolerate the illegal incursions of these militias in the buffer zone that Morocco had accepted to place under UN control.
Morocco made it clear that it would not tolerate any change to the status quo on the ground and that if the militias do not withdraw, it would carry out pre-emptive attacks.
In view of the constant danger posed by the Polisario, which repeatedly threatened to put an end to the ceasefire imposed by the UN since 1991, and in view of its repeated incursions in the demilitarized zones of the Moroccan Sahara, placed under the MINURSO’s monitoring, the Security Council does not intend to sit idly by, notes the daily.
The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has clearly warned the Polisario, in a written message conveyed by his special representative for the Sahara and MINURSO Chief, that its actions and violations of the ceasefire in the Sahara endanger the stability of the entire north-west African region, a very sensitive region given its proximity to Europe, the daily added.
The UN Secretary General also conveyed to Algeria — which funds, hosts, arms and backs the Polisario diplomatically– the concerns of the Security Council members, especially the permanent members who demand the immediate withdrawal of the Polisario militias to their bases in Algeria, Assabah stated.
It added that the Security Council members are currently working on a project for the definitive elimination of the demilitarized zones.
Confronted with this UN firm warning, the Polisario responded by voicing again its threats to attack Morocco militarily.
This development means that the Polisario has lost another battle, the daily noted, explaining that the elimination of the demilitarized zones will be accompanied by either a redeployment of the Moroccan army throughout the Moroccan Sahara, or, if necessary, the positioning of Blue Helmets in the buffer zone. Either scenario will confine the Polisario to the Tindouf camps, ad vitam æternam.
The same daily reported in a previous issue that France told Algiers that it would not oppose an armed military operation on the part of Morocco in the buffer zone and that the Security Council could also greenlight air strikes by the Moroccan army in the area.
At a meeting in Paris Monday between French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Messahel, France warned Algiers against any initiative likely to trigger an armed conflict in the region.
According to the daily, the warning was all the stronger that it came shortly before the meeting between the French President Emmanuel Macron and King Mohammed VI.
Diplomatic sources quoted by Assabah said that Messahel, upon return from Paris, hastened to gather the chiefs of staff of the Algerian army to tell them that France supports a possible armed intervention of Morocco in the buffer zone to dislodge the Polisario elements.
“If the Polisario does not withdraw from the buffer zone, as provided for by the ceasefire agreement, Morocco has the right to respond with firmness,” the head of French diplomacy told his Algerian counterpart. The warning could not be clearer, noted the newspaper, adding that France, which knows that this area of the southern Mediterranean could easily turn into a powder keg, cannot tolerate the actions of an armed militia.