Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Morocco warns against Sahara provocations

Morocco warns against Sahara provocations

Morocco has complained to the U.N. Security Council after what it called "flagrant violations" of a cease-fire agreement in the disputed Western Sahara, the official MAP news agency said Saturday.
Morocco also issued an unusually direct criticism of neighboring Algeria for backing the Polisario rebels, who want independence for the territory.
European rights activists and Polisario rebels held a march near the no-go demarcation zone in Western Sahara on Friday, during which two people were wounded by a land mine.
Morocco's foreign minister sent a letter to the United Nations about the incident, according to MAP.
Morocco and the Polisario Front have repeatedly traded accusations of violating a 1991 cease-fire brokered by the United Nations to end hostilities in the conflict zone. But this latest incident was one of the few times Morocco also has publicly criticized Algeria for backing the Polisario.
The vast, desert territory was annexed by Morocco upon decolonization by Spain in 1975.
About two-thirds of the territory is controlled by Morocco, which has built a 1,600-mile (2,600-kilometer) barrier of barbed wire, concrete walls and several million land mines to keep out the Polisario and Saharawi desert nomads. The Polisario's temporary capital and refugee camps housing 170,000 ethnic Saharawis lie on Algerian soil next to the border.
A group of activists, including Saharawis and more than 1,000 people from Spain and other countries, marched to a section of the barrier on Friday to protest the "wall of shame," Algeria's state-owned El Moujahid newspaper reported Saturday.
Two Saharawis were wounded in a land-mine explosion, it said. It said some 2,500 people took part in the march.
Morocco's Interior Ministry said in a statement that 1,400 protesters had entered "the forbidden zone" next to the wall, including "military elements of the Polisario with their individual weapons." It said Polisario members fired gunshots in the air and that several were wounded by the land mine. Activists also tried to remove some coils of barbed wire.
The Interior Ministry said it "firmly condemns these irresponsible provocations."
Morocco also urged the international community to note "the gravity of such acts ... and the responsibility of Algeria, which allows their repetition."
The Algerian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond. Algeria has long been the Polisario's main backer, stating it supports the Saharawhi peoples' right to self-determination.
The statement warned that Morocco "will defend its territorial integrity by all means it judges appropriate."
The U.N. has been tasked with organizing a referendum on the status of Western Sahara, but has been unable to organize the vote amid disagreements between Morocco and the Polisario about who should take part.
Amid the usual large security and army presence, Laayoune, the capital of the Moroccan-controlled zone of Western Sahara, appeared calm Saturday.
___
Associated Press reporter Alfred de Montesquiou contributed to this report from Algiers, Algeria.


Updated : 2021-07-26 13:00 GMT+08:00