Government Spokesperson, Mustapha El Khalfi took part at a meeting in Washington Press Club during which he debunked a set of allegations continuously used by separatists in their Algerian-funded propaganda.
The meeting, organized part of the International Media Forum 3, sponsored by the Moroccan-American Network, was held in a context marked by toughening of rhetoric by Morocco in reaction to Polisario’s repetitive incursions into the demilitarized area in the northeast of the Sahara territory.
Polisario’s plots to move its military structures to Bir Lahlou, east of the Moroccan-built security wall, were seen by Morocco as a casus belli and a desperate attempt by the Algerian-backed separatists to acquire the attributes of a state.
Morocco threatened to intervene militarily if the UN mission, MINURSO, fails to thwart the Polisario from changing the status of the area, which should remain an area of limited military restrictions under the military agreement number 1 signed with the MINURSO.
In this regards, El Khalfi told international journalists that the Polisario alleges that the area east of the berm is a “liberated territory” and that the security wall is a “separation wall”.
He said these appellations denote blatant separatist propaganda as Morocco was the party handing the area to the MINURSO for ceasefire monitoring purposes, adding that the security wall was built for defense purposes against the guerrilla attacks that the Polisario used to perpetrate against Moroccan troops and civilians before retreating to their rear-base in Tindouf (south western Algeria).
Morocco built the berm and left an area to the east to be able to pursue Polisario militiamen without entering Algerian territory, an event, which could spark direct confrontation with Algeria.
El Khalfi recalled that the highest turnouts in Moroccan elections were registered in the southern provinces (the Sahara) where locals elect their representatives freely as was attested by international observers in 2016 general elections. Therefore, he said, it is unfair to say that the Polisario is the representative of the Saharan population.
He drew attention to the authoritarian nature of the Polisario entity where the Sahrawis held in the separatists-run camps in Algeria are deprived of the right to vote.
The responsibility of Algeria in perpetuating the conflict was also highlighted as the Algerian regime has been arming and backing financially and diplomatically the separatist group.
The Moroccan American Network (MAN), a non–profit organization dedicated to strengthening economic ties between Morocco and the United States, was set up in 2012 thanks to the dedication and commitment of Moe Elhajjam, a self-made Moroccan-American businessman who has been settled in the USA for over 30 years and who is the CEO of Av Actions company.