Moroccan Minister: international agreements confirm Sahara is Moroccan
“International agreements which do not exclude ‘the Moroccan Sahara’ from their application, prove that the area is Moroccan”, Moroccan Minister of Communication Mustapha El Khalfi said in an interview.
When asked whether there are documents that support Morocco’s claim that Western Sahara is part of its national territory, he explained that there are “more than 12 international agreements with countries such Great Britain, USA, France and Spain, that do not exclude the Sahara from their application”.
Though no country in the world recognises Morocco's self-proclaimed sovereignty over Western Sahara, some countries fail to back-up that non-recognition in their trade relations. That said, other governments do.
While claiming to neutrally support the UN peace process in Western Sahara, the European Union uses vague territorial specifications in its economic agreements with Morocco, leaving it entirely up to the latter to define its own national boundaries. As a consequence, produce from occupied Western Sahara is currently being sold in European supermarkets, stamped as from Morocco.
Interests lobbying for the continued EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara, mostly Spanish parlamentarians in the EU Parliament's Fisheries Committee, have continuously expressed that EU fisheries cooperation with Morocco in the waters of the territory has no political implications. The Moroccan minister now says otherwise.
"The European Union is currently negotiating a new Protocol to the fisheries agreement with Morocco. It is disappointing the Union would wish to back-up Morocco's unfounded claims to Western Sahara by not distinguishing between the two territories", said Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
“The financial aspect [of the Fisheries Agreement] is not necessarily the most important aspect of this agreement. The political aspect is just as important”, said Morocco's fisheries minister to a Moroccan newspaper in 2006.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the three different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.