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Date of posting : April 2, 2018

Hilale to SC President: Relocation of Any ‘Polisario’ Facility to East of Security Structure in Moroccan Sahara ‘Constitutes Casus Belli’

The relocation of any “polisario” facility, be it civil, military, administrative, or of any kind or nature whatsoever, from the Tindouf camps in Algeria, to the East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara, “constitutes a casus belli”, warned permanent representative of Morocco to the United Nations, ambassador Omar Hilale in a letter sent, Sunday, to president of the Security Council, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra.

“This illegal act by the other parties, seriously threatens the UN political process that the UN Secretary General and his Personal Envoy work tirelessly to relaunch. With their repeated violations, which are now extended to several zones in the East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara, the other parties seriously condemn any chance of relaunching the political process,” stressed Hilale in the letter.
Indeed, he went on, “the violations of the Military Agreements and of the ceasefire and the exacerbation of tensions on the ground, are antithetical to the political process which imperatively needs, according to the UN Secretary General, a favorable and serene environment.”
“The inaction of the International Community and its passivity towards these violations have, unfortunately, been interpreted by the other parties, as an encouragement to persist in their defiance,” the ambassador regretted.
He noted that “the Kingdom of Morocco calls on the Security Council to demand from the other parties to cease their actions that are detrimental to regional peace, stability and security. The Security Council is called upon to use its authority to enforce compliance with the ceasefire and Military Agreements and to order “polisario” to withdraw immediately, unconditionally and completely from the area East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara.”
In this regard, he stressed that “Morocco, which has so far shown restraint and a high sense of responsibility at the request of the UN Secretary General, his Personal Envoy and the International Community, will not stand idly by the deterioration of the situation on the ground. The other parties will, then, have to take full responsibility for the consequences that will result from their actions.”
“The Kingdom of Morocco would like to reiterate its constant and unwavering commitment to the UN political process, and its full readiness to continue its cooperation with the UN Secretary General and his Personal Envoy,” underlined Hilale, calling on the president of the Security Council to urgently circulate this letter to the members of the Security Council, and issue it as an official document of the Security Council.
He also mentioned the continued illegal presence of armed elements of “polisario” in the Guergarate buffer zone, in flagrant violation of the Military Agreement N.1, noting that “this is an inadmissible defiance of the Security Council, the United Nations and its Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres. The latter has demanded, in his statements on 25 February 2017 and 6 January 2018, as well as in his report S/2017/307, dated 10 April 2017, the total respect of the status quo and freedom of movement in the buffer zone of Guergarate. In this report, he also expressed his deep concern by the continued presence of “polisario” in this zone and asked the Security Council to urge “polisario” to withdraw from the buffer zone in Guerguerate, fully and unconditionally.”
The “polisario” has, once again, recidivated, three days ago, in its violations of the Military Agreement N.1, in another area of the Moroccan Sahara, in this case in Mahbes, he said, adding that several armed elements of the “polisario” have entered this area, aboard military vehicles, and have set up tents, dug a ditch and built constructions using sandbags.
“More gravely, “polisario” is preparing to transfer the premises of some of its administrative and military facilities, from the Tindouf camps in Algeria, where they have always been established since the start of the dispute in 197 5, to the area East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara, which includes the localities of Bir Lahlou and Tifariti,” he underlined.
Hilale recalled, in this context, that “on the eve of the entry into force of the ceasefire, in September 1991, under the supervision of the United Nations, the area East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara has been voluntarily arranged by my country, in joint agreement with the United Nations, so as to be devoid of any civilian or military presence, in order to reduce tensions between Morocco and Algeria and avoid the resumption of hostilities.”
“The Kingdom of Morocco has, then, agreed with the United Nations, that the one and only presence in the area East of the security structure in the Moroccan Sahara is, and will remain, that of MINURSO, in order to consolidate the ceasefire. These facts are duly recorded in the various exchanges between Morocco and the United Nations and through the interaction of my country with the members of the International Community,” he stressed, pointing out that “the Status of Mission Agreement of MINURSO (SOMA), signed between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Nations, explicitly states, in its article 1 (b), that its provisions cover the whole of the “Sahara territory”, and therefore, both the West and the East of the security structure.”
In this regard, he stressed that “for several months, the other parties have escalated their violations of the ceasefire and the Military Agreements in force, carrying out very grave acts of provocation that seriously threaten peace, stability and security in the region.”
He concluded that “this new escalation, of extreme gravity, has the unacceptable and illegal objective of changing the reality on the ground and altering the status quo in the Moroccan Sahara. Morocco will never allow this.”