UN Chief Voices ‘Deep Concern’ over Tense Situation in Sahara
Following the cease-fire violation of the Polisario, which introduced armed elements in the buffer strip, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern over the “tense situation” in the Sahara, calling on Morocco and the Polisario to maintain status quo.
In a statement relayed by his spokesperson Ban said he was “deeply concerned over the tense situation that has developed in the narrow buffer strip” between Morocco and Mauritania.
He warned of “changes in the status quo and the introduction of armed units from Morocco and the Polisario in close proximity to each other.”
The UN Chief called on both parties “to suspend any action that alters that status quo and to withdraw all armed elements so as to prevent any further escalation and permit MINURSO to hold discussions with both parties on the situation.”
He also stressed “the importance for both parties to adhere to their obligations as per the Military Agreement number 1, and the need to respect the letter and the spirit of the ceasefire agreement.”
Ban Ki-moon’s statements come after the incursion of armed polisario men in close proximity to the berm in the southernmost tip of the Moroccan Sahara where a road is being built to link the Moroccan and Mauritanian border posts.
The violation of the ceasefire by the polisario was documented in a MINURSO patrol while the same UN mission confirmed that Morocco’s anti-smuggling operation in Gargarat was of a police and customs character in line with the 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire.