By Taj-Eddeen Al-Abdalawi
RABAT, Morocco (AA) - A former Moroccan minister has said that his country will dismiss the separatist Polisario Front from the African Union.
Ex-communications minister Mustapha El-Khalfi was speaking at a seminar by the ruling Justice and Development Party on Saturday.
He said Rabat is gaining since it moves in the Guerguerat buffer zone, Western Sahara last month.
The government on Nov. 14 launched an operation to reopen a key highway at the Guerguerat border crossing between the territory and Mauritania that it said had been blocked by Polisario rebels.
Polisario, which does not recognize the existence of the road, responded by declaring the end of an almost three-decade cease-fire.
Both sides had been fighting for sovereignty over Guerguerat since Spanish occupation ended in 1975. It was declared a demilitarized zone after the truce.
Morocco considers the resource-rich territory its integral part but the Polisario Front insists on a referendum on independence. The planned plebiscite, however, has been repeatedly postponed.
The former minister said his country's return to the African Union ended Polisario's exploitation of the union.
Morocco withdrew from the 55-member organization in 1984 after the latter approved Polisario membership under the disputed state of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. It returned in 2016.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara