Moroccan truckers stuck on Mauritania border urge help

Moroccan truckers stuck on Mauritania border urge help
Moroccan police officers wearing face masks patrol Ain Diab beach in Casablanca, Morocco, Wednesday, Sept.23, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 07 November 2020

Moroccan truckers stuck on Mauritania border urge help

Moroccan truckers stuck on Mauritania border urge help
  • Western Sahara, a vast swathe of desert on Africa’s Atlantic coast, is a disputed former Spanish colony

NOUAKCHOTT/MAURITANIA: Around 200 Moroccan truck drivers stuck on the desert border between Mauritania and disputed Western Sahara have appealed to Rabat and Nouakchott to swiftly intervene.
In a statement carried by the Mauritanian news agency Alwiam, the drivers said they were stuck on the Mauritanian side of the border near Guerguerat, without access to drinking water, food, shelter or medicine, with some suffering from chronic illnesses.
Guerguerat is located on southern coast of Western Sahara, along the road leading to Mauritania, some 380 km north of Nouakchot.
It is in a buffer zone patrolled by a UN peacekeeping force.
Alwiam said the drivers of produce trucks were returning from Mauritania and sub-Saharan Africa but “militias affiliated with separatists” had stopped them from crossing.
The drivers’ statement, dated Thursday, did not specify how long they had been stranded.
Western Sahara, a vast swathe of desert on Africa’s Atlantic coast, is a disputed former Spanish colony. Rabat controls 80 percent of the territory, including its phosphate deposits and its fishing waters. The Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which fought a war for independence from 1975 to 1991, demands a referendum on self-determination.
Morocco, which maintains that Western Sahara is an integral part of the kingdom, has offered autonomy but insists it will retain sovereignty.

HIGHLIGHT

The drivers of produce trucks were returning from Mauritania and sub-Saharan Africa but ‘militias affiliated with separatists’ had stopped them from crossing.

The drivers appealed to the governments of Mauritania and Morocco to “work as quickly as possible to end the crisis,” and to provide them with food and medicine.
They also urged the UN to “play their role in protecting the buffer zone and the border crossing, which provides a gateway for work for thousands of drivers, farmers and traders.”
Officials in Mauritania have not commented on the situation.
In recent weeks, Moroccan media outlets said Sahrawi separatists had set up roadblocks and stopped passage across the border, but AFP was not able to independently verify the reports. The UN also cited isolated incidents at Guerguerat in a recent report.
Negotiations on Western Sahara involving Morocco, the Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania have been suspended for several months.


UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
Updated 19 January 2021

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
  • The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areasboth sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas

DUBAI: The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday,.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviewed the prospects of advancing relations with Cyprus in a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.
Christodoulides praised the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.
During his visit to the UAE, the Cypriot minister also met with the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Saqr Ghobash, accompanied with the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, Yannis Michaelides.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas.
Ghobash said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.
A parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, Ghobash said, and stressed the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.
Christodoulides said that the UAE was a leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.
He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.