France highlights Moroccan commitment to ceasefire

The UN urges to ease the tension in Western Sahara. A war that nobody wants.
France highlights Moroccan commitment to ceasefire


France highlighted on Tuesday the Moroccan commitment to the ceasefire at the Guerguerat border crossing and called for the relaunch of the political process for Western Sahara at the United Nations.

"France welcomes Morocco's commitment to the ceasefire, which must be preserved," the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said in a statement to the press.

She also said that "the political process must be maintained, which must be relaunched within the framework of the United Nations."

The spokeswoman stressed France's "concern" about the blocking of the border crossing and stressed "the importance of the freedom of movement of goods and people in the area."

The UN urges to ease the tension in Western Sahara

The UN urged Morocco and the Polisario Front on Tuesday to take steps to reduce the tension, after receiving reports of new shots in areas near the Western Sahara separation wall.

According to spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, last night shots were reported in two areas next to the wall, in the north and in the south of the territory. Dujarric, asked in his daily press conference, pointed out that what is happening in Western Sahara poses a "great risk" of escalation and is "one of the most serious incidents" recently seen in the former Spanish colony.

"We continue to urge the parties to take all necessary steps to reduce tensions," said the spokesman, who said that the head of the UN, António Guterres, has been in contact with several interlocutors.

Antonio Guterres

Among others, Guterres spoke on Monday with King Mohamed VI of Morocco, with whom he discussed "the matter of Guerguerat", the point in the extreme south of the Sahara blocked for three weeks by the Polisario and where the Moroccan Army intervened last Friday, which unleashed hostilities.

In the telephone conversation, the monarch asserted that he remains "committed to the ceasefire" in Western Sahara, which the Polisario Front declared broken last Saturday, and warned that "he will react with the utmost severity to any threat to his security. and the quietness of its citizens, "according to Morocco.

According to the United Nations, in recent days the Portuguese diplomat has been "very involved in various initiatives to prevent an escalation of the situation and to warn against violations of the ceasefire and the serious consequences for the status quo."

The Polisario Front accuses Morocco of declaring "war by violating military agreements" by entering the Guerguerat border crossing, a demilitarized zone that separates Mauritania from the occupied areas of Western Sahara and in recent days has launched several attacks against military positions Moroccans at the separation wall in the desert.

According to the Polisario, they caused "mortal casualties to the enemy", a statement denied by Rabat, which also minimizes the bombings, and on which the UN said today it has no further information.

Ghali accuses Morocco of declaring war and calls on the UN to act

The secretary general of the Polisario Front and president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Brahim Ghali, insisted today that Morocco "declared war by violating military agreements" entering the Guerguerat border crossing, a demilitarized zone that separates Mauritania of the occupied areas of Western Sahara.

And he urged the international community "to act" so that the UN position "stops fluctuating" and thus be able to avoid an escalation of "the war", in his first statements to the press since the armed incident took place on Friday. on the Mauritanian border that has unleashed the warlike tension in the region.

Brahim Ghali

Since then, the Sahrawis claim that they have launched four attacks against Moroccan military positions at the separation wall in the desert and caused "mortal losses to the enemy", a claim that Rabat denies, which also downplays the bombings.

Reply of the King of Morocco

Ghali responded today to the King of Morocco, Mohamad VI, who on Monday in his first reaction to the conflict again hinted that he considers the annexation of Western Sahara as a fait accompli.
In his telephone conversation with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Gutierres, the monarch in addition to assuring his commitment to the ceasefire and warning that he will react with the utmost severity to any threat to his security and the quiet of his citizens, in At no time did he utter the word "war" (which Morocco has not recognized so far), but he insisted that the political process should "involve the real parties to this regional conflict (alluding to Algeria) and allow a realistic and workable solution. within the framework of the sovereignty of the Kingdom, "that is to say, excluding self-determination.

Despliegue Marruecos

An "unintentional" war in Western Sahara

The Polisario Front has been forced to enter a war with Morocco "unintentionally" driven by internal causes and by the limited nature of the judicial strategy adopted by the Saharawi front in recent years, according to several analysts told Efe.

"The Polisario has entered the war without wanting to enter, it has been a decision made without clear objectives," Sahrawi analyst Larbi Ennas, director of the La Paz Studies Center, located in El Aaiún, told Efe. Military manager of the Polisario and creator of its School of Officers.

According to Ennas, the Polisario felt that "it was losing its historical legitimacy" in the face of the discontent of the Saharawi youth, loaded with expectations that have not been met until now.
In fact, the traffic blockade on the Guerguerat highway since last October 21 was, according to the Sahrawi analyst, initially caused by a spontaneous action of civil society activists, fed up with the "status quo" of a conflict that it has lasted 45 years. "The Polisario at first tried to stop them, but later it ended up joining them and riding the wave," Ennas explained.

Another factor related to the limited scope of the judicial strategy adopted in recent years, as Miguel Hernando de Larramendi, a professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and a specialist in the Maghreb, believes for his part.
For example, the front did not manage in 2018 to deactivate the fishing agreement signed between Morocco and the European Union, applicable in Sahrawi waters, nor have Sahrawi judicial remedies stopped the export of phosphates extracted from the Sahara to the world.

The Polisario has so far issued four "military parts" and gave orders to its six military regions to harass Morocco, something that, in the opinion of analysts, has served above all to reinforce the legitimacy of the nationalist discourse within the Sahrawi camps. without military achievements due to the total imbalance between the forces of both parties.


A "business problem"

Morocco has managed to reduce the tension to a commercial problem and in the communications of Foreign Affairs or the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) the Moroccan military intervention is presented as a way of "establishing a security cordon" to restore trade, an argument, according to Ennas, which cannot but find a favorable response to the international community.

And the fact is that the traffic blockade has been criticized by the UN, the EU and Mauritania - where vegetable prices exploded because of it - while no international actor praised this strategy.

Meanwhile, Moroccan military action has had growing support from several countries such as the United Arab Emirates.

"(The blockade of Guerguerat) gave Morocco reasons that it did not have before to take the strategic step of Guerguerat. The Polisario shot itself in the foot for having acted responding to tactical questions, but to no strategy," Ennas said.

In fact, Morocco is going to stay permanently in Guerguerat, and creates a new reality in the conflict, says Ennas. The analyst believes that Morocco has no intention of crushing the Polisario, because the time factor is already working in its favor.
An idea shared by Professor Larramendi, who considers that this tension now created represents "a wake-up call" to the United Nations to address conflicts that are suffering from immobility and that end up falling into oblivion.