Morocco begins Atlantic Initiative by reducing buffer zone with Mauritania

Coastal countries welcome the Moroccan project and emphasize its importance in enhancing development in Africa

The Royal Armed Forces of Morocco have begun deployment in parts of the buffer zone towards the northern border of Mauritania, to commence infrastructure works in the southern regions, paving the way for the construction of a land route to Mauritania, as part of the implementation of the initiative to connect countries in the Sahel region to the Atlantic Ocean. This aims to enhance cooperation with African countries and achieve economic integration among continent’s nations.

This initiative is part of the implementation of the Moroccan project aimed at connecting countries in the Sahel region (Mali, Chad, Niger, and Burkina Faso) to Moroccan ports, aiming to enhance trade between Morocco and Sahel countries, and contribute to the development of the region and the creation of new job opportunities.

This new crossing is expected to open up new avenues for cooperation between Morocco and Sahel countries, contributing to strengthening security and stability in the region.

Reliable sources have confirmed that Morocco is working diligently and in coordination with all relevant parties to ensure the opening of this new border crossing as soon as possible. Sahel countries have strongly welcomed this Moroccan project and emphasized its importance in enhancing development in the region.

Local sources have also reported that the Royal Armed Forces have started extending their presence into the depths of the buffer zone in the Oued Ed-Dahab region, about 260 kilometers away from the city of Dakhla, towards the Aguenit area, and “cancelling” parts of the buffer zone to begin infrastructure works, including connection to water and electricity networks, coinciding with the start of the implementation of the Atlantic Initiative, whose outlet is expected to be the new port of Dakhla.

This new move confirms Morocco’s commitment to achieving development and stability in Africa, as well as enhancing cooperation with continent’s countries in various fields.

The same sources have indicated that these are works to connect to water, electricity, and sanitation networks to start implementing a new road section connecting Mauritania to the Moroccan national road network in the desert, which have started in the cities of Oued Ed-Dahab, Galtat Zemmour, and Agounit, which have previously witnessed “cleansing operations” over the past few years.

Morocco preceded these field movements by evacuating the area of any presence of elements affiliated with the separatist Polisario Front, specifically in Agounit, where several drone strikes have been conducted, killing a group of Front fighters, leading to their complete evacuation from the region.

These developments come after days of receiving the Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces, Commander of the Southern Zone, General of the Army Mohamed Brika, at the headquarters of the Southern Zone Command in Agadir, by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of MINURSO Alexander Iwanko, accompanied by General Farhoul Ahsan, Commander of MINURSO forces, and an important delegation.

A statement from the High Command of the Royal Armed Forces clarified that during this meeting, held on the instructions of King Mohammed VI, the two parties discussed various aspects of cooperation between the Royal Armed Forces and MINURSO forces, expressing their willingness to strengthen it in the service of peace and stability in the region.

On January 22, 2024, during a joint press conference with Mauritanian Foreign Minister Mohamed Salem Ould Merzoug, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita stated that King Mohammed VI considers that Mauritania has a role and a position in the framework of the royal initiative aimed at facilitating the access of Sahel countries to the Atlantic Ocean.

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