MINURSO calls for the creation of joint military mechanism between Morocco and the Polisario

In his new report on the Western Sahara conflict, the UN Secretary-General focused on the actions undertaken by MINURSO. According to Antonio Guterres, the peacekeeping mission has proposed the creation of a joint military mechanism between Morocco and the Polisario.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. / Ph. DR
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In a new report on the situation in Western Sahara, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that a solution to the conflict is «possible». Despite his optimism, he still referred to «the lack of trust on all sides».

Guterres notes, however, that «overall the situation on the ground remains relatively calm». The ceasefire violations recorded in his April report has been largely resolved. Also, the peacekeeping mission deployed in the Sahara did not record any violations on both sides of the sand wall.

The report, consulted by Yabiladi, features an «unprecedented» proposal. Indeed, MINURSO has called for the creation of a joint military mechanism between the two parties, which would be meeting once a month and monitoring incursions observed on both sides. According to the same report, both parties welcomed the initiative but without agreeing on the characteristics of it.

El Guerguerate

In the same report, the UN Secretary-General referred to the situation of the El Guerguerate border crossing which remains a «source of tension between traders, protesters and Moroccan customs officials». Since April, the MINURSO have recorded «54 situations» in which the border was blocked. Members of the peacekeeping mission have to intervene sometimes to assist tourists.

The Secretary General said that he is concerned about «the latest developments in El Guerguarate». The rise of commercial and civil activities led to «tensions in this sensitive area». He also called for «guaranteeing free civil and commercial circulation» and urged «both parties to refrain from committing acts in El Guerguarate».

Human rights violations

As for human rights, the report refers to protests of Saharawi traders in the Tindouf camps against the restrictions imposed by the leadership of the Front and the protests related to disappeared activist Khalil Ahmed, the former adviser to Mohamed Abdelaziz.

Guterres briefly mentioned the arrest of «a human rights defender» and a «blogger» in the Tindouf camps but without naming them.

On the part devoted to Morocco, the Secretary General said that the UN Commission on Human Rights «is concerned» about reports of «continuing systematic restrictions imposed by the Moroccan authorities on human rights, freedom of expression, the right to demonstrate peacefully and to create associations in Western Sahara».

The Commission, he says, has had information about «arbitrary detentions of lawyers, bloggers, journalists and human rights defenders» and «forced evictions» of European citizens who visit the area. The UN body continues to receive letters from lawyers on «the torture of Saharawi prisoners including the group of Gdim Izik».

The Secretary-General indicates that the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the United Nations sent him, on September 9, a message in which he reports «Morocco's efforts in the consolidation and protection of human rights» and provided answers on some incidents that shook the cities of the Sahara.

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