The Polisario Front’s maneuvers this week constitute a blatant defiance of the UN and show that negotiations with the separatist group "cannot be the basis for any political process," Morocco’s foreign minister argued.
Rabat – “There is no political path with gangs,” the Moroccan foreign minister said Friday in response to the Polisario Front’s latest provocations in Guerguerat, a town in the buffer zone between Morocco and Mauritania.
“Those who practice provocations are outside international legitimacy and put themselves in confrontation with the United Nations and international law Operate with gangster logic,” Nasser Bourita stated firmly during a press conference in Dakhla.
Bourita’s remarks followed the Algeria-backed Polisario Front’s recent “camping trip” in Guerguerat.
Local media reports earlier this week showed photos of Polisario members waving separatist flags in the town. Other photos showed Polisario members sitting in the road to block traffic, a tactic the Front often uses to disturb the status quo in the buffer zone.
“Today, we see bandits in the true sense,” Bourita said Friday. “There is no political path with bandits, no political path with those who are discredited, who work as an armed group, as a gang.”
Read also: How Polisario’s Provocations in Guerguerat Play in Morocco’s Favor
The Polisario Front’s maneuvers this week constitute a blatant defiance of the UN and show that negotiations with the separatist group “cannot be the basis for any political process,” Bourita underlined.
“These road bandits will not affect the path that Morocco has taken and which it is walking with the conviction of states, international legitimacy, and the clear positions of the United Nations on these provocations and their illegality,” he stated.
The Front’s attempts in September and October to disturb the status quo in the buffer zone by blocking traffic prompted responses from the UN secretary-general. As well, on October 7, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres published his annual report on the situation in Western Sahara and specifically denounced the group’s maneuvers in Guerguerat. Despite the UN’s condemnation, the Front continues its disruptions.
Morocco’s ongoing diplomatic momentum in the south
Bourita’s response to Polisario’s latest maneuvers in Guerguerat followed the inauguration of three new consulates general in Dakhla, a city in southern Morocco that Polisario considers “contested territory.”
The foreign ministers of Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and Burkina Faso each inaugurated diplomatic representations in the city Friday morning, alongside Morocco’s top diplomat.
Bourita said the three new consulates in Dakhla not only strengthen Rabat’s economic and humanitarian relations with the African countries, but are also of special importance to Morocco. They represent “a legal reference that comes within the framework of the exchange of documents and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963,” according to Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Morocco’s foreign minister welcomed all seven consulates in Dakhla as reflections of growing African support for the Moroccan stance on Western Sahara.
The presence of consulates of countries from different regions of the continent confirms that Morocco’s Western Sahara diplomacy “is not concentrated in one region, but rather concerns all African countries with the hope that it will reach other continents soon.”
Bourita added that the presence of consulates in the southern cities of Laayoune and Dakhla are strong signals that reflect the growing African support for Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The consulates’ opening “also comes within the framework of the Security Council discussions on extending the mandate of MINURSO and the resolution that will be issued next week,” he continued.
Bourita is confident that diplomatic momentum in Western Sahara will prove productive in the UN political process. “The United Nations, like [Morocco’s African allies], is no longer fooled by the flimsy speeches, provocations, and the actions of bandits.”
Read also: Western Sahara: Beyond Polisario’s Frustration with UN Efforts