Belgium, Japan support freedom of movement in Guerguarat
The two countries’ statements came following the intervention of the Moroccan army that put an end to the Polisario’s violations in Guerguarat.
Polisario sent militiamen to the region on October 21, resulting in a serious three-week blockade of goods and people. Morocco authorized a non-offensive operation to end the blockade on November 13.
In Brussels, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sophie Wilmes has emphasized the importance of the freedom of movement and cross-border exchanges in the Guerguarat region.
She said the border has a significant impact on the entire Maghreb and Sahel region, an area of strategic importance.
“We believe that it is essential to ensure the freedom of movement and cross-border exchanges in the area of Guerguarat, which has a significant impact on the entire Maghreb and Sahel region, a region of strategic importance”, said the Belgian top diplomat before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Belgian House of Representatives during the presentation of the general policy of her department.
As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Belgium “shares the concerns following the events in the buffer zone of Guerguarat and we fully subscribe to the recent declaration of the UN Secretary General, as well as to the various appeals from the members of the Security Council and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs who call on all parties to do their utmost to save the ceasefire agreement and avoid an escalation on the ground”.
Mrs. Wilmès, who had been questioned by the federal deputy André Flahaut on the intervention of Morocco to secure this zone after being blocked by armed militias of the Polisario, stressed that “Belgium attaches great importance to the ceasefire agreements in force since 1991 and reiterates its full support for the efforts of MINURSO to this end.”
Wilmes also extended her country’s support for the UN-led political process to find a peaceful settlement to the Sahara conflict in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and in particular the last resolution 2548 adopted on October 30, 2020″.
Belgium will continue to support the UN’s efforts to achieve “an inclusive, just and lasting political solution” to the Sahara issue, she pointed out, noting that “only a negotiated and peaceful solution will enable to put an end to the issue and will contribute to the prosperity and development of the region”.
Japan on its part stressed the importance of ensuring the free movement of people and goods in the Guerguarat area, calling for restraint and for continuing efforts in order to ease tensions.
A verbal note addressed by Japan’s embassy in Rabat to the Moroccan Foreign Ministry underlined that Japan also reiterates the wish to see this dispute quickly lead to a peaceful solution on the basis of dialogue between the parties concerned.
Japan supports the efforts by the United Nations, including within the framework of MINURSO missions, the verbal note added.