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Morocco urges UN to end Polisario ‘provocation’

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI on Friday asked the United Nations to take urgent measures to end “provocation” by the Algeria-backed Polisario Front threatening the ceasefire in the disputed Western Sahara.

Morocco insists that the former Spanish colony is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination.

The two sides fought for control of the Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of the territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect.

Mohammed VI spoke on Friday with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to deplore “repeated incursion by armed Polisario men” in the Guerguerat district, a royal court statement said.

The king said that Polisario “provocation” and “premeditated” action in the region took place a month before Morocco rejoined the African Union in January.

Morocco had quit the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1984 after the bloc admitted the former Western Sahara as a separate member.

Mohammed VI urged Guterres to “take urgent and necessary measures to put an end to this inadmissable situation which is seriously threatening the (1991) ceasefire and placing regional stability at risk,” the statement said.

Tensions flared last year after the Polisario set up a new military post in Guerguerat district near the Mauritanian border, within a stone’s throw of Moroccan soldiers.

The move came after Morocco last summer started building a tarmac road in the area south of the buffer zone separating the two sides.

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