The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, Mr. Nasser Bourita, said Morocco has renewed its commitment to the cease-fire agreement. However, it keeps the right to retaliate “the strongest” against any threat to its security.
Mr. Bourita said in an interview with The Parliament Magazine, published Monday, that “Morocco reaffirms its commitment to respect the ceasefire and the political operation. With that said, it holds the right to respond in the strongest possible way to defend its territory against any threat.”
In response to the impact of the potential collapse of the cease-fire agreement on regional stability, the minister said that since 2016 the polisario militias have carried out illegal operations on several occasions. These have included extortion and mafias in the Guerguerat buffer region and east of the defense wall, violating agreements and ignoring calls by the UN Secretary-General and Security Council resolutions.
He noted that “the previous month, militias decided to reinforce their disregard for international law by blocking the movement of goods and individuals between Europe and West Africa through the Guerguerat area in Morocco.”
In this regard, the minister said: “Morocco continues to show restraint, not out of weakness but out of responsibility, since it is committed to multilateral and institutional treatment of causes of strategic importance to the region.”
The minister also noted that the Great Sahara and Sahel region faces several challenges (terrorism, organized crime, trafficking), indicating that Morocco engages directly with the UN Secretary General and members of the Security Council, including through the fight against the aggressive behavior of polisario militias.
Following the failure of these attempts, adds the minister, Morocco decided to intervene within the framework of its rights and obligations. He indicated that this non-offensive operation, with no intention of war, was carried out according to the rules of engagement in order to regain freedom of movement.
He said that this is of great importance for Morocco, which has not hesitated, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, to deploy all its efforts to contribute to the stability and development of the Sahel region.
He explained that “the Kingdom has adopted a multidimensional approach to address the security, human and environmental challenges of the Sahel region. For this purpose, the Kingdom of Morocco is attached by strong and historical ties with the Sahel countries, and considers regional cooperation of special importance to manage borders in the fight against terrorism and the protection of territorial unity”.
On the other hand, the minister said that “we have chosen to focus our efforts on the religious side, through a comprehensive training program of imams for several partner countries in the Sahel region, and to promote moderate Sunni Islam”.
Mr. Bourita concluded that the approach of cooperation on the religious side “has been widely welcomed by the international community, and will form a model of religious cooperation with other countries in the region”.