Anonymous sources in Morocco have accused the Polisario Front of increasing tension on the border of Guerguerate by constructing new barriers to force vehicles to pass through a narrow corridor under the eyes of its armed officials, Al-Youm 24 reported on Tuesday.
“These steps,” the sources claim, “come as the Sahara file enters its critical annual phase within the UN Security Council, and represent a new escalation of the crisis in the Guerguerate border crossing.” This, they added, is the prelude to the imposition of a customs control point between the Moroccan and Mauritanian borders, which is another idea that has recently been discussed by the Polisario leadership. They pointed out that this includes the imposition of a customs visa and possibly fees by the Polisario on vehicles passing through the Guerguerate region, which almost invites Morocco to use force in retaliation.
Guerguerate is a small geographical zone in the disputed Western Sahara, located 11 kilometres from the border with Mauritania and 5 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. The region is under Moroccan control.
In a related comment, a Saharawi official and member of the delegation to direct negotiations with Morocco has said that the deadlock in negotiations with the north-west African state on the fate of Western Sahara does not serve the region’s security and stability. In an exclusive interview with Quds Press, Mohamed Khaddad also said on Tuesday that the Polisario Front expects UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a new envoy to replace Christopher Ross.
Khaddad denied that the Polisario had taken any escalating steps in the Guerguerate region. He accused Morocco of “violating the cease-fire by allowing its army to enter the region and trying to build a road there; expelling the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO); rejecting human rights monitoring; and freezing negotiations since 2012.”