Since 13 November tensions in Western Sahara have been escalating. It is an area of Western Africa that is claimed by the Kingdom of Morocco. In a speech, marking the 45th anniversary of the Green March, King Mohammed VI condemned the Polisario Front’s recent provocations in Guerguerat and the separatist group’s manoeuvres seeking to undermine the stability of Morocco’s southern provinces. In the same speech, King Mohammed VI renewed Morocco’s position regarding its territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
His Majesty said: “Through a peaceful march, which enabled our country to recover its southern provinces, Moroccans proved to the world their ability to rise to challenges and make history. The Green March is an ongoing process whereby we confirm the Moroccans of the Sahara in the international arena. Morocco will respond to the violations with the utmost firmness and resolve, to any practices or attempts designed to undermine the security and stability of its southern provinces.”
Only a few days ago the King discussed tensions in Western Sahara and greater bilateral collaboration in a phone call with Mauritania’s president Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani. King Mohammed VI expressed his willingness to visit Mauritania and extended an invitation to Mauritania’s President to visit Morocco. A visit by King Mohammed VI to Mauritania would be the first of its kind since 2001 and the prospect likely highlights a warming of relations.
The Royal Moroccan military intervention in Guerguerat on November 13th is against the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic supported by the Polisario Front. Tensions between Morocco and the Polisario Front deepened in mid-October when about 200 Moroccan truck drivers were stranded on the Mauritanian side of the border near Guerguerat, which is patrolled by the UN.
The clashes began on 13 November, in Guerguerat, but since has spread along the Moroccan Western Sahara Wall. Since the beginning of the conflict, both countries have begun mass mobilisation. It is the first major clash over the region since 1991. The battle is still ongoing.