New York, September 10, 2016 (SPS) – Polisario Front called Friday on the UN Security Council to intervene to prevent the construction of a road passing through Sahrawi territories, condemning the evasion by the United Nations of its previous commitments on the project, in a letter from the representative of the Polisario Front to the United Nations, Mr. Ahmed Bukhari, to President of the UN Security Council, His Excellency Mr. Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen, before a meeting on the Western Sahara crisis.
This is the full text of the letter :
‘‘His Excellency Mr Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen
President of the UN Security Council
New York, September 9, 2016
Following official instructions, I have the honour to address to you this letter to bring to your attention the following on the eve of the meeting of the Security Council on Western Sahara:
1. The tense situation in the area of El Gargarat has been caused by the very serious decision, taken on 11 August 2016, by the Government of the occupying power of the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara to cross the line of the Moroccan military wall, which was established by the entry into force of the ceasefire on 6 September 1991, with the purpose of building a paved road through the Sahrawi Territory under the control of the Frente POLISARIO to merge on the border of Mauritania. This decision constitutes a violation of the ceasefire and the terms of the military agreement 1 which the two parties, the Frente POLISARIO and the Kingdom of Morocco, signed with MINURSO.
2. This decision was attempted by Morocco in previous years, particularly in 2001 and 2002, as reflected in the reports of the Secretary-General S/2001/398 of 24 April 2001; S/2001/613 and S/2002/41 but it was suspended “at the request of MINURSO” on the basis of informing the Moroccan authorities that “the project of the construction of the road posed delicate problems and that some of the activities undertaken could constitute a breach of the ceasefire agreement.”
3. The peace process led by the UN has not yet been completed, and until it is concluded successfully in accordance with international law, the agreements on the ceasefire remain the same as those that existed in 2001 as well as the imperative that they continue to be scrupulously respected by both parties.
4. It is clear that Morocco is trying again to impose a fait accompli, ignoring not only its obligations under the ceasefire but also the position taken in the past by the UN on its road project. Ninety per cent of the vehicle traffic is Moroccan and it is a lucrative business that crosses the Sahrawi and Mauritanian territories on its way to Senegal. Through it, drugs are smuggled as well as second-hand cars or vehicles stolen in Morocco or Europe.
5. It is highly surprising that the UN seems to have been advised to ignore its own decision on this issue, and to see attempts today to push it, before the blackmail of Morocco, to build and finance itself the road project. This means that the UN would become a company in charge of funding for Morocco projects and works that it itself has considered in three reports of the Secretary-General as a violation of the ceasefire agreement.
6. The Frente POLISARIO, which reaffirms its full commitment to the terms of the ceasefire, cannot in any case accept the construction of this road by Morocco or by third parties in so far as it was and remains the result and direct consequence of the violation of these terms.
7. Any modification of the realities existing on the ground and arising from the agreements on the ceasefire would imperatively needs the agreement of both parties.
8. Members of the Security Council have been the subject of a deliberate operation of deception by Morocco in its attempt to give as justification for the construction of the road a supposed fight against drug trafficking and stolen vehicles. It is known that Morocco is the largest producer of cannabis in the world, and it is also known that for years it has been engaged in inundating the region with this drug that ends up in the Sahel and beyond under the protection of terrorist groups.
9. Both drug trafficking and smuggling of vehicles, which could have crossed to the region of El Gargarat, have been done in any case across the wall or the berm under the eyes and with the approval of the Moroccan authorities at the Moroccan checkpoint established in El Gargarat area. Outside this check point the entire line of the berm is full of landmines and nobody can cross it without the support of Moroccan military officials as the experience has shown.
10. It would be enough that necessary measures are taken at the said checkpoint to prevent such trafficking. That would be more consistent with the argument that has been advanced to justify what in actual fact is a violation of the terms governing the ceasefire. It is also clear that it does a disservice to the argument advanced about an alleged fight against drug trafficking by building a paved road for it.
11. After having obstructed the referendum process, repressed the Sahrawi population in the occupied territories, denigrated the Secretary-General, expelled MINURSO and refused to receive the Personal Envoy, Morocco decided on 11 August to undermine the most sensitive pillar that has so far allowed maintaining the situation on the ground under control, namely the terms of the ceasefire.
12. The Frente POLISARIO has alerted in due course through a letter addressed by Mr Brahim Ghali, Secretary-General of the Frente POLISARIO, to the UN Secretary-General dated 15 August, on the implication and serious consequences of the Moroccan decision to move its armed forces and police as well as tractors and other vehicles beyond the demarcation line of the ceasefire. The UN Secretary-General expressed objectively and publically his concern about these developments and called for the respect for the ceasefire and the military agreement 1, which Morocco had violated. Morocco has ignored the call as it has ignored the Security Council’s call contained in resolution 2285 (2016). MINURSO has not regained the whole ensemble of the expelled personnel and the Personal Envoy, Ambassador Ross, has been prevented from resuming his mission due to the lack of cooperation by Morocco.
13. The Security Council met on 26 August to discuss the situation in El Gargarat. Unfortunately, the Council did not discharge its responsibility to reaffirm the validity of the decision taken by MINURSO in 2001 and 2002.
14. The Council’s silence was interpreted by Morocco as a green light to impose the road as a fait accompli. On 27 August, it began the works under the protection of armed forces, called Gendarmerie.
15. In view of these developments and in order to prevent that the ceasefire be violated with impunity, the Frente POLISARIO decided to deploy, at a two kilometres distance, special forces with precise orders not to allow the completion of the road. The decision has been communicated to the Acting Force Commander of MINURSO
16. The Frente POLISARIO hopes that the current state of affairs does not lead to an irreparable situation. It believes that the Security Council, based on the precedents contained in the above-mentioned reports of the Secretary-General, and in order to maintain faith in the process of the peaceful solution, must assume its responsibility so that the normal situation prior to 11 August is restored. In that case, the Frente POLISARIO will withdraw the forces deployed on 28 August to reaffirm frankly and transparently its willingness for peace and cooperation with the UN efforts with a view to achieving a peaceful, just and lasting solution.
I should be grateful, Mr President, if you would bring the content of this letter to the attention of the Members of the Security Council. I also reiterate my readiness to accept any invitation to contribute directly to a better understanding of the position of the Frente POLISARIO as one of the two parties to the conflict.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express to you my highest consideration.
Representative of the Frente POLISARIO to the UN’’. (SPS)
Origen: Polisario Front informs UN Security Council on rejection of any proposal outside 1991 ceasefire agreements | Sahara Press Service