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"We can't abandon this region nor ignore this threat" - Manar Slimi

Kawtar Wakil, euronews: “We are now joined by Manar Slimi, who heads the Maghreb Centre for Security Studies and Policy Analysis in Rabat.

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"We can't abandon this region nor ignore this threat" - Manar Slimi

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Kawtar Wakil, euronews: “We are now joined by Manar Slimi, who heads the Maghreb Centre for Security Studies and Policy Analysis in Rabat. Doctor Slimi Welcome to euronews.

“As an expert on this conflict, can you explain to us the reasons that led Morocco to carry out a unilateral withdrawal from the region of Guerguerat as requested by Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN?”

Abderrahim Manar Slimi: “There were strategic changes. The Polisario front failed to respect the ceasefire and agreements which had been set up. They travelled from the Mauritanian territory to the Atlantic Ocean, and began to oppose the international civilian trade route. It was impossible for Morocco to liaise with the United Nations because of the country’s possible return to the African Union. Subsequently, there was a discussion with the Secretary General of the United Nations. An agreement was signed and Morocco is now determined to respect the notion of international legitimacy. That is why Rabat proceeded to a unilateral withdrawal from the area and the Polisario Front fell into the trap.”

euronews: “Keeping in mind that the Polisario Front has not left the area, can you give us more details about the situation? Is this the beginning of a face-off between the UN and the Polisario Front?”

Abderrahim Manar Slimi: “First of all let’s be clear. Everybody can see what the Polisario are doing. They remain in this region while violating the rules of international law. Their aim is to prevent an international trade corridor, which can be classed as an act of aggression and this is made clear in the Charter of the United Nations. The Polisario are now being monitored by the Secretary-General of the United Nations who is presenting a report to the Security Council. We look forward to the report of the Polisario withdrawal, as well as the resolution of the Security Council. Now it seems as though the Polisario Front don’t know whether to move forwards or backwards, because they have been caught off guard by Morocco’s withdrawal.”

euronews: “António Guterres stressed the need to respect the terms of the ceasefire agreement and expressed his concerns about tensions in the region. What will happen if we do not respect his request ?”

Abderrahim Manar Slimi: “The Polisario don’t represent the Sahrawis in the provinces of the south where they have their own elected representatives. What has happened in this region shows that the Europeans have played this card because they are concerned about the return of Morocco to Africa in the sense that this country, which has been a strategic partner is in an excellent position right now.”

euronews: “The Polisario Front use the European Supreme Court card? Will there be negotiations to find a solution for commercial and political litigation?”

Abderrahim Manar Slimi: “The Polisario block roads and Morocco has the right of self-defense because this Front is a threat to international peace and security. We can not abandon this region nor ignore this threat. Now it seems as though everyone is waiting for the first report from the Secretary-General.Then the tactics will change.”