Security Council rejects UN proposal on controversial project in Saharawi territories

New York, September 11, 2016 (SPS) The majority of the members of the Security Council, met Friday in New York, rejected the proposal of the United Nations to complete a project to build a road across the Sahrawi territories, contested by the Polisario Front.

"The majority of members of the Security Council were not prepared to accept the UN proposal for this project. It has received the support of France and Senegal, two allies of Morocco," indicated a UN source close to the matter.

The members of the Security Council insisted on restraint and respect for the ceasefire agreement, the situation is still tense, I hope that there will be no skid", it added.

The UN Secretary General on Friday proposed to the Security Council to complete the paving of a road linking the buffer zone Elguergarat to the border with Mauritania, a project that Morocco wants to achieve in violation of the cease-fire agreement.

The UN that opposed in 2001 and 2002 the construction of this road, including "some activities that could constitute a violation of the ceasefire agreement," has given in to the Morocco blackmail by agreeing itself to build and finance the project, the Polisario Front denounced on Friday.

"This means that the UN will become a firm to finance Morocco projects",  while it had, in three previous reports, considered this work as a violation of the ceasefire agreement, indicated Ahmed Boukhari, representative of the Polisario Front to the United Nations, in a letter Friday to the president of the Security Council.

The Polisario Front is "surprised" by the UN's position that seems to "ignore its own earlier decisions" on this project, he said.

Morocco had begun in August the work in this section with a length of 3.8 , which should cross the Sahrawi territories under control of the Polisario Front to the border with Mauritania.

The Security Council, which met Friday behind closed doors to review the tense security situation prevailing in this sensitive area, refrained from making a statement to the press.

Gerard Van Boheman, the president of the Security Council, indicated that the UN body has been kept informed of the situation in Elguergarat by Christopher Ross, envoy of Ban Ki-moon for Western Sahara and kim Bolduc, head of MINURSO.

Gérard Van Boheman specified that his country, New Zealand, is worried by this situation which he says following closely. 

Rejecting the proposal, the representative of Venezuela, Rafael Ramirez, told the press that "MINURSO was not created to build roads but to prepare the referendum for the Saharawi people".

Ban Ki-moon, for his part, refused to comment on the UN proposal.

The security situation in the area of El Guergarat remains tense, both sides maintained their positions about 120 meters from each other.

The United Nations indeed fears "a resumption of hostilities, with a risk of regional implications".

In a confidential memo forwarded for information to the Security Council on 28 August, the UN General Secretariat affirmed that Morocco has violated military agreement No. 1 by deploying security forces in the area without prior notification to MINURSO. (SPS)