28 April 2017

Secretary-General Welcomes Withdrawal of Moroccan, Frente Polisario Elements from Western Sahara’s Guerguerat Area, Urging Adherence to Ceasefire

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

We welcome the withdrawal of all Frente Polisario elements from the Guerguerat area, between the berm and the border with Mauritania, as confirmed by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) observers on 27-28 April.  Together with the earlier withdrawal of Moroccan elements from the area, in response to the urging of the Secretary-General, this action should improve the prospects of creating an environment that will facilitate early implementation of the Secretary-General’s determination to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit that reflect the Security Council’s guidance and resolutions, with the aim of reaching a “mutually acceptable political solution which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara”.

We continue to call on the parties to adhere to their obligations under the ceasefire agreement and to respect both its letter and spirit, and to cooperate fully with MINURSO.  The need to ensure that tensions do not erupt anew in the Guerguerat area remains vital.  To this end, MINURSO intends to maintain the position it has held in the Buffer Strip since August 2016 and further discuss the Mission’s future monitoring of the area and the full range of issues related to the Buffer Strip with the parties.

For information media. Not an official record.