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Morocco accused of violating Western Sahara ceasefire


A confidential UN document says Morocco violated a 1991 cease-fire agreement with the Polisario Front independence movement by sending armed security personnel and equipment into the contested Western Sahara region without prior notice to U.N. peacekeepers.

The note to the UN Security Council from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, that was seen by the Associated Press said the Polisario Front deployed 32 armed military personnel in response, also in violation of the cease-fire.

The altercations are said to have been carried out between August 16-25.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975 and fought the Polisario Front.

The UN brokered a cease-fire in 1991 and established a peace-keeping force known by the acronym MINURSO to monitor it and help prepare a referendum on the territory’s future, which has never taken place.

Morocco considers Western Sahara its “southern province” and has proposed wide-ranging autonomy, but the Polisario Front insists on self-determination through a referendum.