By violating the ceasefire agreement, the polisario armed separatist group "disqualified" itself from any participation in the political process on the Moroccan Sahara and showed the world that it has no place around the round tables, said, Friday on CNN International, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN, Omar Hilale.
"When a party declares war and withdraws from the ceasefire, then it has no place on the negotiating table. The polisario has simply disqualified itself from participating in the political process," insisted Hilale, who was the guest of "Connect the World," hosted by Becky Anderson.
The Moroccan diplomat recalled that it is indeed the polisario and its armed militias that are at the root of tensions in the buffer zone of El Guerguerat in the Moroccan Sahara, as they brought, on October 21, women and children as well as armed elements, to block civilian and commercial traffic at this crossing point. Despite this situation, Morocco has refrained, at the request of the UN Secretary General, from any action for several days, he added.
"But as you know, there is a time for diplomacy and a time for action," explained the Moroccan diplomat, stressing that following polisario's refusal to comply with the UN chief's calls, Morocco had no other choice but to shoulder its responsibilities and take matters into its own hands by conducting a civil engineering operation to restore traffic at the El Guerguerat crossing point.
This operation led by the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) was conducted in broad daylight and in the presence of UN observers, the ambassador said, adding that no civilians have been harmed or touched during this operation.
Reacting to the spurious propaganda of the polisario separatists on the situation in El Guerguerat, Hilale underlined that Morocco is sticking to facts "as the second president of the United States, John Adams, once said: the facts are stubborn."
"And the facts are that it is the polisario that came with civilians and armed elements to El Guerguerat. And it is the polisario who declared officially that it is breaking the ceasefire," Ambassador Hilale added, stressing that Morocco has, at no time, indicated that it was withdrawing from the ceasefire or the political process.
In this regard, the diplomat said that "the instrument of the referendum in the Sahara has been dead and buried for more than two decades" and that there "is no way one can raise the dead."
"It is not only me who is saying this. The Security Council makes no mention of the referendum in any of its resolutions adopted over the past 20 years," he underlined.
On the political solution to the Moroccan Sahara conflict, the ambassador reiterated that there is only one political solution, namely a large autonomy under the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Morocco.
"The autonomy solution has been considered, since its presentation, as serious and credible by the Security Council, and it has been discussed at the two round tables held under the leadership of former President Horst Köhler," Hilale recalled. "Within the framework of autonomy everything is possible and outside of autonomy nothing is possible," he added.
Hilale also recalled that His Majesty King Mohammed VI sent a letter and had talks with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to whom the Sovereign reaffirmed Morocco's commitment to the ceasefire and the resumption of the political process conducted under the auspices of the United Nations, as well as the Kingdom's support for the efforts and good offices of the head of the UN.
"Morocco, and as His Majesty the King has affirmed, is not at war, but reserves the right to defend itself and its people, territory and territorial integrity. And this is what has happened during the last days," said the diplomat.
Morocco's action to restore civil and commercial traffic in El Guerguerat has been supported and backed by a large part of the international community, including about twenty African countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Gulf countries (GCC), the European Union, as well as countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. While the polisario is supported by only one country, namely Namibia, in addition to its main backer, Algeria. "Apart from these two states, no other country supports the polisario's bellicose action," the ambassador noted.
Referring to the polisario actions, Hilale recalled the words of late Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, who once said that one should never trust armed groups and separatist movements "because they have no international obligations."
"And this is precisely the case of the Polisario, which is violating the cease-fire and renouncing its commitments to the United Nations," he said.
"Today the world celebrates the International Day of Children and do you know what the polisario is doing? It is mobilizing and enlisting children, sending them to El Guerguerate and now it is preparing them to war, ijacking their childhood and innocence. This is unfortunately the nature of the polisario," the ambassador concluded.