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Morocco plans to withdraw forces in Western Sahara


Morocco on Sunday announced to withdraw its unilateral armed forces from the UN Buffer zone in the disputed Western Sahara in compliance with the UN recommendations.

There had been in a standoff with troops from the Polisario independence movement for months.

This come days after king Mohammed v1 had spoken with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, denouncing the Polisario Front, which for decades has sought self-determination for the desert region.

King Mohammed pointed to the repeated incursion of armed Polisario elements and their acts of provocation in the region which is disputed in Western Sahara near Mauritania.

Polisario declared an independent republic in the disputed desert land in the 1970s and fought a guerrilla war with Morocco until a 1991 ceasefire.

The group accuses Rabat of breaking the terms of the ceasefire last year by trying to build a road in the U.N. buffer zone.

The spokesman for the U.N. Secretary General had released a statement on Saturday calling on all parties to “unconditionally withdraw all armed elements from the Buffer Strip as soon as possible”

U.N. peacekeepers had been stationed between Moroccan forces and a brigade of Polisario troops just 200 meters apart in an area between Moroccan-built earth wall and the Mauritania frontier.

Sawiris’s family controls the sprawling Orascom corporate empire founded by his father, Onsi. His brothers, Nassef and Naguib, are chief executive and chairman of Construction Industries and Orascom Telecom, respectively.

Orascom Development built two low-income housing projects in Cairo and the upper Egyptian city of Qena in 2007 and 2010.

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