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Morocco to Withdraw from Guerguerat Zone | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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File photo of a police officer standing near a Moroccan national flag near the main stadium during preparations for the FIFA Club World Cup in Agadir, December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Rabat – Morocco announced on Sunday withdrawing its forces from Guerguerat zone, a strait on the Western Sahara territory.

King Mohammed had ordered a unilateral withdrawal from the zone in conformation with the U.N. Secretary General’s recommendations.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, that Morocco took into consideration the statement of U.N. spokesperson concerning the dangerous situation in Guerguerat. It announced that in respect of the U.N.’s request, the forces will immediately withdraw.

The spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General had released a statement on Saturday calling on all parties to “unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible”.

The standoff in Guerguerat began last year when U.N. troops stepped in after Moroccan troops crossed beyond Moroccan-controlled areas in what they said was a road clearing operation, prompting the mobilization of Polisario forces.

Polisario accused Rabat of breaking the terms of the ceasefire last year by trying to build a road in the U.N. buffer zone. Morocco says it was just a clearing operation that broke no terms of the ceasefire.

Ministry of foreign Affairs released a statement back then saying that it was intentionally done just one month before the return of Morocco to the African union in an attempt to create chaos.

Zambia’s Foreign Minister Harry Kalaba reiterated his country’s previous decision to withdraw its recognition of the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, an entity established by the Algeria-backed Polisario front in February 1976.

“I reiterate my statement made on July 9, 2016 in Rabat,” Kalaba told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) news agency on Saturday.

In his interview with MAP, the foreign Minister reiterated that his country supports the efforts exerted by the U.N. to help the parties find a long-lasting solution to the conflict.

He stressed that Zambia seeks to contribute in a constructive way in these efforts by adopting a position that is neutral and open to the concerned parties and supporting an efficient dialogue.

The Zambian FM added that his country believes that “Morocco’s return to the African Union affords the African family an opportunity to push for this question, which has lasted for a long time, towards a peaceful solution in a spirit of African consensus, dialogue and mutual respect.”