Morocco–Western Sahara

Characterized by several decades of conflicts and territorial disputes, the border between Morocco and the territory of Western Sahara is particularly contentious. The status of Western Sahara is disputed and Morocco claims the entire territory as a Moroccan province. The indigenous population of Western Sahara, the Sahrawi, claim the territory within the former Spanish Sahara, which was a province of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco. The dispute has prompted the UN to designate Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory.

There is an ongoing conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front, a faction that represents the interests of the indigenous Sahrawi population, for control of Western Sahara. Morocco currently holds de facto control of a majority of Sahrawi-claimed territory. The line of control, which follows along a series of Moroccan-constructed sand berms, is heavily mined and considered one of the most dangerous areas in the world. Morocco and the Polisario Front agreed in the late 1980s to allow for a referendum to decide the status of Western Sahara, though this referendum has yet to occur. Subsequent negotiations between the two sides have also failed, and tensions remain high between the Moroccan government and the Sahrawi population.

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