Posted On February 27, 2017 By In None With 39 Views

Polisario dismisses Rabat pullback as ‘window dressing’

Algiers, Feb 27, 2017 (AFP)

Polisario separatists have dismissed as “window dressing” Morocco’s announcement of a pullback from a zone of the contested Western Sahara that has raised tensions with their Algiers-backed movement.
The foreign ministry in Rabat said Sunday that Morocco will “proceed from today with a unilateral withdrawal from the (Guerguerat) zone,” in what it said was a decision taken by King Mohamed VI at the request of UN chief Antonio Guterres.
It gave no details on the pullback.
“The Moroccan decision to withdraw its troops near Guerguerat by a few hundred metres is window dressing,” the Polisario Front said in a statement later Sunday.
“It barely disguises Rabat’s disdain for international legitimacy, its obstinacy and refusal for almost three decades to allow for the implementation” of UN resolutions on the Western Sahara, it said.
The Polisario said it supported the UN secretary general’s call “to respect the spirit and the letter of the ceasefire in force since 1991”, reiterating its demands for a referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawi people.
It accused Morocco of “blocking a settlement, rejecting negotiations” and UN mediation efforts.
Tensions flared in 2016 after the Polisario set up a new military post in Guerguerat near the Mauritanian border, a stone’s throw from Moroccan soldiers.
The move came after Morocco last summer started building a tarmac road in the area south of the buffer zone separating the two sides.
Morocco and the Polisario fought for control of the Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat taking over the territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect in the former Spanish colony.
Rabat considers the Western Sahara an integral part of Morocco and proposes autonomy for the resource-rich territory under its sovereignty.

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