ALGIERS, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th August, 2016) : The Polisario movement campaigning for the independence of the Western Sahara has protested to the United Nations over a Moroccan security operation in the disputed territory. The Polisario said that the operation in the far south of the territory close to the Mauritanian border had involved large numbers of military units and had taken them beyond the sand wall that marks Morocco's normal area of control.
A 1991 ceasefire brokered by the United Nations that ended 16 years of conflict between Morocco and the Polisario left Morocco in control of all of the territory's main towns and the Polisario confined to a narrow strip of the desert interior. The far south was left as a no-man's land with neither side having a permanent presence. Morocco said that its operation in the Gargarate area north of Mauritania's second city Nouadhibou which began on Sunday was aimed at stopping cross-border smuggling, particularly of second-hand and stolen vehicles.
But in his letter to the United Nations, which operates a peacekeeping force in the territory, Polisario secretary general Brahim Ghali rejected the Moroccan explanation. "All arguments put forward by the Moroccan occupation forces for their actions are baseless and we reject them," Ghali said, according to a text of the letter carried by the Polisario's SPS news agency. "The Moroccan forces have mobilised army units backed by transport and engineering units and aerial reconnaissance violating the area in question.
" Rabat maintains that the Western Sahara is an integral part of Morocco, despite UN resolutions calling for a referendum on self-determination. The operation near the border comes as tensions have increased between Rabat and Nouakchott since the re-election in 2014 of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Ould Abdel Aziz received two Polisario officials for talks on Friday. Rabat has also had strained relations with the United Nations in recent months.