Statement by the Australian Arabic Council

Security breach with acts of banditry at El Guergarate crossing point

3 December, 2020  We refer with great concern to the recent developments at El Guergarate crossing point separating the Moroccan Sahara and Mauritania.  A group of militias had carried out acts of banditry, impeding the free movements of vehicles on the main trade route between Morocco and Mauritania whilst continuously harassing the local civilians.

The polisario militiamen had illegally entered a restricted zone and remained there since the 21st of October, 2020.  This blockade, which involved civilians, was accompanied by the destruction of the road linking Morocco to Mauritania.

The Kingdom of Morocco had immediately alerted and regularly informed the UN Secretary General and senior UN officials about these extremely serious developments.  Morocco also drew the attention of the Security Council members as well as neighbouring states to this situation.

An operation was subsequently carried out by Morocco on 13th November in order to restore free movement at the crossing point.  The operation was conducted in a peaceful manner without clashes or threat to the safety of civilians by following clear rules of engagement that prohibit any contact with civilians.  Furthermore, a safe corridor was setup around the El Guergarate border crossing to prevent any repetition of this serious situation.

The Australian Arabic Council commends the Kingdom of Morocco for its peaceful initiative to restore security and facilitate the free movement of citizens and goods in Morocco at El Guergarate.

The AAC expresses its solidarity and support for the Kingdom of Morocco and for the responsible measures taken, in compliance with international law, by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, to defend the sovereignty of Morocco, as well as the rights, safety and security of its citizens.

We also reiterate our support to the efforts made by the United Nations Secretary General towards a negotiated, just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, in accordance with various Security Council resolutions on the matter to find a peaceful settlement to the regional issue.

Executive Committee
Australian Arabic Council

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