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In a letter to the UN, the Polisario Front denounces the Africa Eco Race Sahara crossing

In a new letter to the UN Secretary-General, the Polisario Front is denouncing the Africa Eco Race Sahara crossing. The 12th edition of the annual rally raid to include a Guerguerate crossing stage.

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The 12th edition of the Africa Eco Race launched Tuesday in Tangier. / DR

Africa Eco Race, an annual rally raid organized in North of Africa as an answer to the cancellation of 2008 Dakar Rally, is once again targeted by the Polisario Front. This time, the separatist movement has sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General denouncing the fact that the race is crossing Western Sahara.

The Front’s letter was sent, Tuesday, to Antonio Guterres, on the same day that marks the start of the Africa Eco Race’s first stage, which links Tangier to a town called Tarda.

«I am writing to you to express our strong condemnation of the planned crossing of the so-called Africa Eco Race into Western Sahara in complicity with the Moroccan authorities», wrote Mohamed Omar, the Front’s representative at the United Nations in his letter to Guterres.

Relayed by the Front’s press agency (SPS), the letter referred to the annual race as another «example of Morocco’s bad faith and its utter disregard for Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2494 (2019), which called for refraining from any actions that could further destabilize the situation in Western Sahara».

The Polisario's threatenting tone

The separatist movement slammed also the United Nations, claiming that it had failed to «take robust actions in the face» of said race. Meanwhile, the Front threated to «use all means» to «respond resolutely to any actions that aim to undermine the integrity of Western Sahara».

The Polisario’s letter to the UN Secretary-General regarding the «Africa Eco Race» is not a new thing. While it observed silence during the 2019 edition of the race, the Front made headlines in 2018, threatening to block Africa Eco Race’s participants.

In January 2018, the Polisario deployed its armed forces to Guerguerate, threatening to prevent participants from crossing the region.

Commenting on the crisis, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that he was «deeply concerned about recent increased tensions in the vicinity of Guerguerat in the Buffer Strip in southern Western Sahara between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border».

He stressed that «regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the buffer strip» and called the two parties to «to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid escalating tensions». However, pressure put by the UN prevented the Polisario militia from blocking the annual race.

For the record, the 12th edition of the Africa Africa Race includes 12 stages, linking Tangier to Dakar, Senegal. In Morocco, participants will be crossing Dakhla and Guerguerate on January 13.

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