8 January 2018
The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
As you saw over the weekend, the Secretary-General issued a statement on Western Sahara, in which he said he was deeply concerned about recent increased tensions in the vicinity of Guerguerat, in the Buffer Strip between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border. He underlined that the withdrawal of Frente Polisario elements from Guerguerat in April 2017, together with the earlier withdrawal of Moroccan elements from the area, was critical to creating an environment conducive to the resumption of dialogue under the auspices of his Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler. The Secretary-General called on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid escalating tensions. Regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip.