Azerbaijan and Morocco: Successful Struggle to Restore Their Territorial Integrity - By Anastasia Lavrina | Eurasia Diary -

28 January, Thursday

Azerbaijan and Morocco: Successful Struggle to Restore Their Territorial Integrity - By Anastasia Lavrina

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2020 – a year that will be remembered by everyone for a long time: the coronavirus pandemic, the US elections, the last stage of Britain's exit from the European Union, armed conflicts and a change in geopolitical influence in several parts of the world. The world has changed and the future is behind a new reality in which justice rises above the principles of double standards.

Azerbaijan and Morocco, 2 countries having strategically important geographic location and playing an essential geopolitical role in regional and global politics. For a long period of time, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kingdom of Morocco were fighting against the policy of double standards, trying to resolve the conflicts that unfolded in their territories on their own, maintaining peace in their regions.

The sovereignty, national and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Morocco are reflected in many international documents and the UN resolutions. In particular, the world community appreciated Azerbaijan's attempts for almost 30 years to find a peaceful solution to the conflict with Armenia, which occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions. The Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara, presented by the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN Security Council in 2007 as an attempt to resolve the conflict with the “Polisario Front “over the Moroccan Sahara through diplomatic means, has also gained widespread acceptance.

2020 was a decisive year for both countries to get everything out in the open and demonstrate to the world community who is the provocateur and aggressor in these two conflicts, and who are the parties whose efforts, and only, managed to contain the situation for many decades.

Another military provocation of Armenia against Azerbaijan, on September 27, became the reason for the start of the 44th day war, which led to a resounding victory for Azerbaijan and the surrender of Armenia. The liberation of the ancient Azerbaijani city of Shusha in Karabakh played a decisive role in the war. Azerbaijan regained control over Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions. According to a trilateral ceasefire statement signed by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Russian peacekeepers have already settled in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Armenia returned the Lachin, Kelbajar, Aghdam regions of Azerbaijan without firing a single shot. Justice triumphed after almost 30 years, during which Armenia ignored and refused to comply with 4 UN Security Council resolutions demanding the immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of the occupying forces from the territories of Azerbaijan. Moreover, in July 2020, Armenia committed a military provocation on the official border with Azerbaijan in the Tovuz direction, far from the contact line. Not seeing an adequate response from the international community, Azerbaijan decided to act in accordance with international law on the preservation of its territories. The resounding victory of Azerbaijan gives a chance for about 1 million IDPs to return to their native lands. Karabakh is Azerbaijan and it will always be like this!

The restoration of justice can also be observed in North Africa, more precisely in the Moroccan Sahara. Morocco's efforts to resolve the conflict in accordance with international principles, improve the human rights situation and contribute to the further development of the region continue. Despite repeated warnings from the UN and Moroccan officials, the “Polisario Front” continues its attempts to destabilize the status quo in the region. In this situation, threats were even voiced to terminate the ceasefire agreement with Morocco, concluded almost three decades ago.

Of course, no one was going to put up with such behavior, as this threatened the beginning of a large-scale military confrontation, which would adversely affect the lives of people in this area. In response to more than two months of provocative actions by the “Polisario Front” in Guerguerat, which were accompanied by the blocking of the movement of Moroccan trucks on the Mauritanian side of the Guerguerat crossing for weeks, Morocco decided to act.

On November 12, the armed forces of the Kingdom of Morocco established a security cordon at the border post in Guerguerat to secure the flow of goods and people between Morocco and Mauritania.

All the calls of the UN, individual members of the UN Security Council and MINURSO to force the “Polisario Front” to stop its provocative actions and leave the Guerguerat buffer zone, remained unanswered. On November 13, this forced Morocco to use its powers in accordance with international law, end the blockade, and restore free civil and commercial movement. A local UN peacekeeping force has joined the Moroccan border post at Guerguerat.

However, “Polisario Front” followed through on its threats by launching an attack north of the Moroccan defensive wall in Mahbes, in a UN-restricted buffer zone, effectively violating the ceasefire. Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces retaliated with anti-tank weapons to neutralize the enemy.

The same evening, the Moroccan Armed Forces announced that they "completely secured" the Guerguerat border crossing between Morocco and Mauritania. Thus, the liberation operation took place without any threat to the safety of the civilian population.

It is also worth noting the diplomatic success of Morocco. To date, 19 countries (3 of which are Arab countries) have opened their consulate general in the Moroccan Sahara, either in the city of Laayoune or in Dakhla. This is the official demonstration of Morocco's recognized right over Western Sahara.

Thus, two countries on two different continents involved in two different conflicts showed the whole world that the territorial integrity of countries is inviolable. Fighting against injustice for decades, Morocco and Azerbaijan were finally able, on their own, to resolve these two high-profile issues that were discussed at the world's largest political platforms, but did not find their solution. However, the decisions made and the results achieved open a new chapter in the development of the two countries, and in the development of the two regions.

Anastasia Lavrina
Leading Eurasian political analyst, international speaker and commentator on a number of TV programs

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