El-Guerguerat: US organization condemns Morocco's aggression, calls for self-determination

Vermont (United States), 16 November 2020 (SPS) - US organization Grace Initiative Global has described Morocco's military aggression in the demilitarized zone of El-Guerguerat as a grave violation of the ceasefire, urging the international community to "renew its efforts" in order to "find a lasting and just solution" to the conflict in Western Sahara that ensures Western Sahara people's right to self-determination."

"It has been almost 30 years since the faded promises of a peace agreement. We hope for an end to the violence and the implementation of the 1991 agreement and the principles of the United Nations Charter," the American organization said in a statement.

Grace Initiative Global "took note, with great regret, of the violation by Morocco of the ceasefire agreement" signed between the two parties to the conflict, Morocco and the Polisario Front, in 1991, "as Moroccan forces launched, Friday, a military operation against Saharawi civilian demonstrators in the demilitarized buffer zone, in El-Guerguerat region on the border between Western Sahara and Mauritania."

"The military operation in the demilitarized zone is a serious violation of the ceasefire agreement signed by the two parties with the United Nations, in 1991, and the related agreements," the statement added.

"The UN General Assembly inscribed Western Sahara on the list of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, under the United Nations Charter, in 1963," the American organization said.

"A legal status which it maintains to date under General Assembly Resolution 1541, but the roots of the dispute go back to 1975, when Morocco occupied Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony."

Since then, the region has been in a long-standing conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the movement that represents the indigenous Saharawi population.         

The organization said that "after 16 years of military clashes, the UN negotiated an agreement in 1991 committing to hold a referendum on the independence of Western Sahara.

"The United Nations Mission for the Holding of a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was mandated to do so, as the agreement must be respected." (SPS)