Morocco has decided to immediately withdraw from the Guerguerat region, according to a communique issued by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The Kingdom of Morocco took note with interest of the statement made on Saturday, 25 February 2017 by the United Nations Secretary-General’s spokesman over the tense situation in the Guerguerat region in the Moroccan Sahara, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said in a statement.
The decision was made after the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres issued a statement on Saturday urging both Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario front to “exercise maximum restraint and take all necessary steps to avoid escalating tensions.”
Echoing the concern that King Mohammed VI expressed during his phone conversation with Guterres on Friday, the UN chief underlined that “regular commercial traffic should not be obstructed and that no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip.”
He, therefore, strongly urged “the parties to unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible, to create an environment conducive to a resumption of the dialogue in the context of the political process led by the United Nations.”
Immediately after the statement of the UN chief was made public, King Mohammed VI ordered the withdrawal of Moroccans security forces from the region.
“Morocco takes note of recommendations and assessments made by the United Nations Secretary General, which are in line with international law,” the statement added.
“This statement comes following the phone conversation held by King Mohammed VI with Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, on February 24,” the source pointed out.
“In this context, and upon high instructions of HM the King and in order to immediately apply and respect the request made by the UNSG, the Kingdom of Morocco will as of today begin its unilateral and immediate withdrawal from the region,” the statement said.
“The Kingdom of Morocco hopes that the statement made by the UN Secretary General will make it possible to return to the situation that was prevalent before in the region, keep intact its status, secure smooth road traffic and thus maintain the ceasefire and strengthen regional stability,” the statement added.