Moroccan United Nations Ambassador Omar Hilale complained to the organization about truce violations in Western Sahara. He cited three incidents that took place between 6-8 January in which Polisario Front staged drills, drove military vehicles in a buffer zone and opened up a new facility. Morocco “strongly condemns these destabilizing actions” that violate a military agreement and “dangerously threaten the ceasefire,” he said in his letter to the UN Security Council.
Mr. Hilale also stressed that the incidents were “provocations” that could jeopardize UN-brokered negotiations on ending the Western Sahara conflict and urged the Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to condemn the actions. In December, Morocco sat down with the Polisario Front, Mauritania and Algeria for the first round table in six years to discuss the stalled conflict over Western Sahara, which Morocco considers to be an integral part of its territory.
The Algeria-backed Polisario fought a war with Morocco from 1975 to 1991, when a ceasefire deal was agreed and a UN peace mission was deployed to monitor the truce. The Polisario Front, a Sahrawi rebel national liberation movement aiming to end Moroccan presence in the Western Sahara, is demanding a referendum on independence for the territory, which Morocco rejects. The conflict has been latent for decades but both sides agreed during December talks brokered by UN envoy and former German president Horst Koehler to meet again early this year. Rabat confirmed that the second round of talks was expected to start in the coming weeks but no date has been announced yet.