Polisario Front leader in Western Sahara declares end of ceasefire with Morocco

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Brahim Ghali, leader of the separatist Polisario Front, announced that the group would no longer respect the commitment of the decades-long truce in the region, Sahara Press Service, the group’s press agency, said on Saturday.

Morocco, which says it continues to support the ceasefire, announced last week that it would resume military operations at the El Guergarat crossing point, a buffer zone between the territory claimed by the Moroccan state and the Self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

By launching the operation, Morocco “has seriously undermined not only the ceasefire and the military agreements relating thereto, but also all chances of reaching a peaceful and lasting solution to the question of the decolonization of Western Sahara” , Ghali said in a letter to the UN.

Western Sahara is a long-disputed territory in southwest Morocco controlled primarily by the Moroccan state, which occupies around 75% of the territory, according to the CIA World Factbook. Morocco and the Polisario Front fought over territory after Spain relinquished power in 1976 and Mauritania withdrew its claim for control in 1979. After negotiating a truce in 1991, the UN recognized the region as a “non-self-governing territory”.

Morocco’s foreign ministry said its border operation was aimed at “consolidating the ceasefire” in response to the Polisario Front, which allegedly blocked the movement of people and goods and harassed UN troops in the process.

Over the years, more than 100,000 people in the region have become refugees as a result of the conflict, according to a report by Global Security.

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