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The different versions of the UN draft report on the Sahara as seen by Morocco and the Polisario

A new draft report on the Western Sahara conflict has been submitted to the Security Council by the UN Secretary-General this week. The report was quoted differently by Moroccan and pro-Polisario news platforms.

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UN Secretary-General ANtonio Guterres./Ph. DR

On Monday, April the 1st, the UN Secretary-General’s draft report on the Western Sahara conflict made headlines. Relayed, exclusively, by French news agency (AFP), the report addressed the recent developments of the territorial conflict, namely the first and second round-table talks that brought delegations from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario together in Geneva, Switzerland.

However, since Tuesday, Moroccan and pro-Polisario platforms chose to highlight different parts from the report, which they were able to take a look at. In the Kingdom, media reports preferred to focus on the points that criticized the Polisario.

The Polisario's violations, as reported by MAP

The Moroccan press agency was the first to write on the Antonio Guterres’ recent report on Western Sahara, quoting the parts that unveiled some of the Front’s violations. MAP reported, Tuesday, that the Polisario failed to abide by «military agreements and UN resolutions, including the most recent ones (2414 and 2440)».

Quoting Guterres’ draft report, MAP stressed that the UN «warned against major risks of tensions in the region due to Polisario’s military exercise in restricted zones».

Moreover, the news agency reported that Guterres informed the Security Council in his report that the Polisario «continues to impede the freedom of movement of MINURSO military observers, whose patrols East of the defense system are already limited by the prevailing insecurity».

According to the same source, the report has also made mention of the «protests taking place in the Tindouf camps in Algeria», calling for the clarification of the case of Khalil Ahmed, a Sahrawi who disappeared in 2009.

In addition to that, the Kingdom’s official press agency wrote that «the Secretary-General is sounding the alarm about the deplorable humanitarian situation in the Tindouf camps». Furthermore, MAP reported in a different story that Guterres «regretted» in his draft report the fact that «the Polisario’s leaders refused to meet MINURSO representatives in Rabouni».

The Polisario's version of the story

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General’s draft report has also made headlines in the Tindouf camps. Pro-Polisario online newspaper Futuro Sahara made mention of the report in question, quoting only the remarks that are «seen as hostile» to the Kingdom.

The newspaper said in an article, published Friday, that Guterres «condemns» in his report Morocco’s «construction of a new sand wall in the Sahara», stressing that the move was a «violation of a military agreement» signed in 1998.  

By the same token, Futuro Sahara reported that the UN «regrets» the fact that the «Royal Moroccan Army continues to interrupt the monitoring of the MINURSO». The same source added that «MINURSO observers discovered a third 30-kilometer sand wall, built by Morocco near Aousserd», in addition to «new centers for the Moroccan army in restricted areas».

The pro-Polisario media finally accused Morocco of having tried «with the help of France to amend the military agreement number 1 through a fierce campaign against the Polisario Front».

For the record, Yabiladi contacted the UN to get a copy of the UN Secretary-General’s draft report, but was told the document is unavailable for the moment.

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