The “polisario” and its militias entered the buffer zone of El Guerguarat in the Moroccan Sahara on October 21, 2020, and carried out acts of banditry there, blocked the movement of people and goods on this road, and continually harassed the military observers of the Minurso. These actions constituted real premeditated acts of destabilization, altering the status of the area, while violating military agreements which represent a real threat to the sustainability of the ceasefire agreement since 1991.
In the same line, these acts undermine the chances of any relaunch of the political process sought by the international community. In fact, since 2016, the “polisario” has multiplied these dangerous and intolerable acts in this buffer zone, in violation of military agreements, in contempt for the calls to order launched by the UN Secretary General and in violation of the resolutions of the Security Council, in particular 2414 and 2440, which ordered the “polisario” to put an end to these destabilizing acts.
Since then, the Kingdom of Morocco had immediately alerted and regularly informed the UN Secretary General and senior UN officials about these extremely serious developments. Morocco had also drawn the attention of the Security Council members and Minurso as well as several neighboring states to this situation.
The Kingdom of Morocco has given all the time necessary to the good offices of the Secretary General of the United Nations and MINURSO in order to push the “polisario” to stop its destabilizing actions and leave the buffer zone of El Guergerat.
However, appeals from Minurso and the UN Secretary General, as well as the interventions of several members of the Security Council, have unfortunately been unsuccessful.
Therefore, faced with this serious and unacceptable provocations of the polisario militias in the buffer zone of El Guerguarat, Morocco has decided to act, in accordance with its attributions and its duties and in full compliance with international legality.
In this regard, the Royal Armed Forces carried, on November the 13th ,2020 upon the Very High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, a military operation, in order to restore free movement at the El Guergarate crossing, which took place in a peaceful manner, without clashes or threat to the safety of civilians.
This operation, aimed at putting definitively an end to the unacceptable behavior of the Polisario, comes after exhausting all the chances for a diplomatic solution through the good offices of the United Nations.
It aims precisely to consolidate the ceasefire by preventing the recurrence of such serious and inadmissible acts that violate the military agreement and threaten regional security and stability.
As a result of the success of the above mentioned operation, the El Guerguerat crossing between Morocco and Mauritania is now completely secured through the setting up of a security cordon by the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), pursuant to the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and ensuring the flow of goods and people through the crossing between the two border posts
Also, according to clear rules of engagement prescribing by His Majesty to avoid any contact with civilians, the armed polisario militia opened fire on the Royal Armed Forces, who reacted by forcing the militiamen to flee, without recording any human damage. The polisario militiamen voluntarily set fire to the tent camp they had established and fled in Jeeps and trucks towards the East and South, under the eyes of MINURSO observers.
Morocco remains firmly attached to the preservation of the ceasefire, noting that the operation carried out by the Royal Armed Forces aims precisely to consolidate the ceasefire by preventing the recurrence of such serious and inadmissible acts that violate the military agreement and threaten regional security and stability.
Despite the strategy of fake news and active disinformation by polisario and polisario- friendly media. the intervention of Morocco in the buffer zone of El Guerguarat was welcomed by the international community that praised Morocco’s full commitment to ceasefire, underlining, thus, the legitimate character of the responsible operation undertaken by the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces.
In this sense, Arab countries and Regional organizations have expressed their unwavering support to the Marocanity of the Sahara as well as to the Moroccan right for defending its territorial integrity and to intervene, in such a non-offensive way, to restore security and stability in the buffer zone.
In this regard, countries such as Bahrain, Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sultanate Oman, Yemen and others expressed their full and constant support to Morocco’s sovereignty and its right to defend its territorial integrity.
In the same vein, the Gulf Countries Council as well as the Arab Parliament underlined the unwavering position of their countries in favour of the Marocanity of the Kingdom’s southern provinces, rejecting any action or practice that would affect traffic in this region and calling for restraint and commitment to dialogue and the use of peaceful solutions in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.
Similarly, The Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has voiced its support for the measures taken by the “Kingdom of Morocco to secure the flow of goods and people at the buffer zone of Guerguarat in the Moroccan Sahara”.
For their part, many African countries, notably Central Africa Republic, Eswatini, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Sao Tomé and Principe and the Union of Comoros hailed the pacific reaction shown by Morocco following the polisario’s constant provocations and violations to international laws in the buffer zone, in addition to reaffirming their continuous and unconditional backing to the marocanity of the Sahara region.
The European Union through its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrel as well as its Commissioner in charge of Neighborhood and Enlargement, Mr. Olivér Várhelyi welcomed Morocco’s commitment to the ceasefire, reiterating that guaranteeing the free movement of people and goods is fundamental in this region. The European Union considered that tensions must give way to the political process, stressing that “it is essential to preserve the political and economic stability of the neighbourhood”.
Moreover, many countries in the immediate neighbourhood of Morocco at the European level, notably Spain, France, Italy and Turkey hailed Morocco’s wise and pacific reaction to the separatist front manoeuvres and escalation at the level of the buffer zone.
All these declarations and testimonials come to reaffirm Morocco’s legitimate right to defend its territory in conformity with the relevant international laws and in respect of the civilians’ security, coming also to confirm, once again, the polisario’s responsibility in seeking by all means to destabilize this buffer zone, in contradiction with the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolutions.