Last month, when UN Secretary-General António Guterres submitted his annual report on the situation in Western Sahara to the Security Council, he noted a “deteriorated state of affairs” in the disputed North African territory which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975.

Mr Guterres warned of a “real risk of escalation” over “continued hostilities” between the Moroccan military and the separatist Polisario Front. These included aerial strikes and gunfire across the berm, a 2,700km sand wall separating the Moroccan controlled areas on the west (80% of the total area including all of the coast) and the Polisario-controlled areas on the east (20%). (CONTINUED - 1550 WORDS)