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Polisaro Front Warns Against Western Sahara Race

A picture by the Royal Moroccan Army Facebook page on November 13, 2020, shows members of the Policario Front leaving their camping site near the Mauritanian border in Guerguerat located in the Western Sahara, after the intervention of the royal Moroccan armed forces.

The Western Sahara independence movement Polisario Front has warned organizers of the Africa Eco Race not to pass through the territory disputed with Morocco, describing it as a "war zone".

In a statement published Sunday by the Sahrawi news agency SPS, the Polisario Front called on the organizers to "refrain" from "violating international legality."

"The Sahrawi Arab Republic reserves the right to resort to all legal means and to respond firmly to any act aimed at undermining its sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Polisario Front said.

The group said Sunday that it "holds the Moroccan occupation state entirely responsible for the consequences that could arise from its continued provocations".

It warned against steps that could "jeopardize not only the UN peace process... but also peace and security in the whole region.

The statement came a week after the UN's Western Sahara envoy Staffan de Mistura met Polisario chief Brahim Ghali in the group's headquarters in Tindouf, Algeria as part of a regional tour.

The race organizers had announced the October 15-30 auto rally would cross through Moroccan-controlled areas of the North African territory.

A swathe of mineral-rich desert on Africa's Atlantic coast, the former Spanish colony is disputed between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario, which claims it as the Sahrawi Arab Republic.

The conflict flared again in November 2020 when the Polisario Front declared the 1991 ceasefire deal null and void after a Moroccan army operation to clear a blockaded highway -- the same as the one on the Africa Eco Race's planned route.