King Mohammed VI orders a withdrawal from Guerguerat buffer zone in Western Sahara

  • Carolin Laubre
  • 28.2.2017 21:19

King Mohammed VI of Morocco ordered a unilateral withdrawal from the Guerguerat buffer zone in the Western Sahara near Mauritania border on 26 February following a call to the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 24 February, urging the UN to take measures on Western Sahara.

The withdrawal comes after months of a standoff with Polisario independence movement troops who accused Morocco breaking the ceasefire terms last year by crossing a wall marking Moroccan-controlled areas in order to build a road. In response, the U.N. Secretary General issued a statement on 25 February calling both parties to exercise maximum restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid escalating tensions, as well as underlining regular commercial traffic should not be obstructed. Polisario’s representative in France stated few hours after Morocco’s withdrawal that Polisario’s troops intend to stay in Guerguerat. In December 2016 the European Court of Justice went against the European Council by ruling on Morocco not being allowed to include Western Saharan resources in trade agreements with the EU, which Polisario has considered a small victory in the territorial dispute.

About author: Carolin Laubre

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