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Mauritania and Algeria urge Western Sahara ceasefire be upheld

The Western Sahara is disputed [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 November, 2020

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Mauritania and Algeria urged Morocco and the Polisario Front to uphold a three-decade-old ceasefire in disputed Western Sahara.
Mauritania and Algeria on Friday urged Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front to uphold a three-decade-old ceasefire in disputed Western Sahara

In a statement, Maruitania's foreign ministry called on "all parties to show restraint" and invited "all protagonists to work towards the preservation of the ceasefire".

Algeria on Friday "strongly" condemned "serious violations" of the ceasefire.

"Algeria calls on both parties, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, to show a sense of responsibility and restraint," the foreign ministry of Algeria, which backs the Polisario pro-independence movement, said in a statement. 

This comes as Rabat announced Friday that its troops have launched an operation in no man's land on the southern border of the Western Sahara to end "provocations" by the pro-independence Polisario Front.

Rabat said its troops would "put a stop to the blockade" of trucks travelling between Moroccan-controlled areas of the disputed territory and neighbouring Mauritania, and "restore free circulation of civilian and commercial traffic."

The Polisario Front warned on Monday that it would regard a three-decade-old ceasefire with Morocco as over if Rabat moved troops or civilians into the buffer zone.

"War has started, the Moroccan side has liquidated the ceasefire," senior Polisario official Mohamed Salem Ould Salek told AFP, describing the action by Rabat as an "aggression".

"Sahrawi troops are engaged in legitimate self-defence and are responding to the Moroccan troops," said Ould Salek, who serves as foreign minister of the Polisario-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Agencies contributed to this report.


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