The High Representative Josep Borrell met earlier today (November 15) with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco Nasser Bourita and of Algeria Sabri Boukadoum, to learn about the latest developments in the El Guerguerat area, following recent events.
The High Representative recalled on this occasion the EU’s full support for the efforts of the United Nations and its Secretary General with a view to finding a peaceful settlement in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations. United Nations and in particular the last resolution (2548) adopted on October 30, 2020. In this context, he wished for a rapid resumption of discussions under the leadership of the United Nations.
In particular, the High Representative underlined the paramount importance of ensuring respect for the ceasefire agreements in place since 1991 and reiterated the EU’s full support for MINURSO’s efforts to this end. In this context, the Moroccan Foreign Minister assured the High Representative of his country’s commitment to respect the ceasefire.
The High Representative also insisted on the preservation of freedom of movement and cross-border trade in the El Guerguerat area, and its significant impact on the entire Maghreb and Sahel region, a region of strategic importance. A political solution is essential for regional cooperation between the Maghreb countries, the stability, security and prosperity of the region, and this even more in view of the current economic difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Separately, reacting to the current situation, the spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations said that “in recent days, the UN including the Secretary General has taken part in multiple initiatives to prevent an escalation of the situation in the buffer zone in the region of Guergerat and to warn against ceasefire violations and the serious consequences of any change to the status quo.”
“The UN regrets that these efforts have proven to be unsuccessful and expresses serious concern about the possible consequences of the latest developments,” he said. “But the UN remains committed to doing everything possible to avoid the collapse of the ceasefire which has been in place since September 6, 1991, and it is determined to do everything to remove all obstacles to the resumption of the political process”.
“Minurso is committed to continuing to fulfil its mandate and the Secretary-General calls on the parties to guarantee full freedom of movement to the (UN) Mission in accordance with its mandate,” the spokesperson concluded.
The President of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed his deep concern at the deterioration of the situation in the buffer zone of Guergerat, and the serious threats to break the ceasefire which has been in force since 1991.
He commended the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the countries of the region to urge the parties to refrain from any change in the status quo and return to the negotiating table, as soon as possible. To this end, Moussa Faki Mahamat requested the Secretary General of the United Nations to expedite the process of appointing his Personal Envoy.
He reaffirmed that the African Union is ready to actively support the efforts of the United Nations towards a just and acceptable political solution for all parties to this conflict.
Morocco’s intervention to unblock the situation has been welcomed and supported by several countries, all of which have expressed support for Morocco’s decision to act to end the stalemate caused by the blockade of Guergerat. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Kingdom of Bahrain the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Jordan have all expressed support for the measures taken by the Kingdom of Morocco to restore freedom of civil and commercial movement in the buffer zone of Guergerat.
The elected officials of Saguia Alhamra and Oued Eddahab (ASESARIO) also warmly welcomed the operation carried out by the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR), in the buffer zone of Guergerat, in order to defend the territorial integrity of the Kingdom. The elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara called for the international community to assume its responsibility at this “critical juncture” for the region to put an end to the provocations of the “Polisario”, and those who manipulate the militia in an attempt to undermine the stability and security of the region.
The elected representatives of the Moroccan Sahara have condemned the repeated violations by the “Polisario” of the ceasefire agreement, warning that the provocations by the separatist militia “could lead the region into a spiral of instability.” They object strenuously to the interruption of civil and commercial traffic by the separatist militia and other provocations they have committed in Guergerat, “a situation that the Kingdom of Morocco has treated with great restraint and with a high sense of responsibility” in complete compliance with international law.