Morocco announced on Sunday that it has withdrawn unilaterally from Guerguerat, in the south of the Western Sahara, which is territory disputed with the Polisario Front, Anadolu has reported.
The move came days after a phone call between Morocco’s King Mohamed VI and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The UN official called for the de-escalation of the tension between the kingdom and the Polisario, said the foreign ministry in Rabat. “Morocco has responded to the call by the UN Secretary-General,” said the ministry, “and made this unilateral withdrawal.”
The government in Rabat hopes that this withdrawal will enable the UN chief to be able to return the zone in question to the status quo “before the dispute started, guarantee normal transportation, maintain a ceasefire and reinforce regional stability.”
According to Anadolu, the Polisario Front has made no comment about the UN chief’s call or the Moroccan withdrawal. Reuters pointed out that the Secretary-General’s spokesperson called on Saturday for the “unconditional withdrawal” of “all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible.”
The crisis in the Western Sahara started in 1975, when Spain’s colonial occupation ended. A conflict broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, with the latter announcing an independent state and Rabat claiming sovereignty over the territory.