A meeting in the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) on 20 March 2017 addressed the issue of Western Sahara. The council stated its preoccupation over the situation in the territory. Morocco, since this year a member of the union, failed to show up at the meeting.
The council refers to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU, calling the decision "important", and requests Morocco to halt further exploitation of the territory:
"Stresses the urgent need to address the issue of the illegal exploration and exploitation of the Territory’s natural resources, bearing in mind the call made in the UN Secretary-General’s report of 10 April 2014, for all relevant actors, in the light of the increased interest in the natural resources of Western Sahara, to “recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount”, in accordance with Chapter XI, Article 73 of the Charter”, as well as in line with the many legal opinions and judgments issued by international and regional Organizations on the issue. In this respect, Council urges the Kingdom of Morocco not to enter into contracts for the exploration and exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources"
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.
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