Updated

News Brief: Polisario Fuels Standoff in the Sahara – Jordana Merran

By Jordana Merran
March 8, 2017

Since last summer, Moroccan troops and Polisario fighters have stood “within 200 meters (yards) of each other in a narrow strip of land near the Mauritanian border.”

On Sunday, February 26, days after a phone call between Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Morocco announced “‘a unilateral withdrawal from the zone’ in conformation with the UN Secretary General’s recommendations,” as reported by Reuters.

The same day, the US Embassy in Rabat tweeted, “We welcome Morocco’s decision to withdraw personnel from the buffer zone in the region of Guerguerate in support of SecGen’s request.”

Over the weekend, Special Representative for the Sahara and Head of MINURSO Kim Bolduc, accompanied by MINURSO Force Commander Wang Xiaojun, met with Polisario officials in Tindouf urging them to withdraw from the area. However, they refused.

According to The Arab Weekly, “Polisario Front fighters re­main in the buffer zone of the Guerguerat region, in­timidating Moroccan truck drivers despite the United Nations’ call for unconditional withdrawal.”

We are following the situation closely.

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