Polisario protests Kosmos/Cairn exploration in occupied waters

The national liberation movement of Western Sahara has sent a protest letter to the Texas based company Kosmos Energy, that explores for oil offshore the waters of occupied Western Sahara for the Moroccan government.
Published: 31.03 - 2017 11:47Printer version    
WSRW wrote on 23 March 2017 that US company Kosmos Energy and Scottish company Cairn Energy has resumed seismic study offshore occupied Western Sahara. The two companies ignore respecting the wishes of the repesentatives of the people.

The need to seek such consent was stressed by the UN Human Rights Council CESCR and CCPR committees in 2015 and 2016, by the Court of Justice of the EU on 21 December 2016 and by the UN Legal Counsel in 2002.

The below letter was sent from one of the top Polisario figures, Emhamed Khadad to Kosmos’s CEO Andy Inglis on 30 March 2017. The letter makes reference to two earlier letters that can be found here.

Bir Lehou, 30th March 2017

Mr. Andy Inglis
Chairman of the Board of Directors
and Chief Executive Officer
Kosmos Energy Ltd.
Suite 500  -  8176 Park Lane
Dallas  Texas
USA  75231

Dear Mr. Inglis:

Petroleum exploration in the coastal waters of occupied Western Sahara

Our government has for reply the letter of your Mr. Manhas dated this February 15 further to ours of February 1.  To begin with, we acknowledge the confirmation of your company’s plans to resume seabed petroleum exploration in the coastal waters of occupied Western Sahara.  The past weeks has seen the resumption of such activities since test well drilling at the Gargaa-1 offshore site was completed two years ago.  As we write, the m.v. BGP Prospector and accompanying vessels are conducting exploration in the Boujdour Maritime Blocks of your company’s license area under purported grant by the Moroccan agency ONHYM.

The Saharawi government and people denounce in the strongest possible terms such exploration.  We underline the gross immorality of a search for petroleum in the circumstances of the illegal armed occupation of Western Sahara and continuing grave human rights abuses in the territory.

We resile from the suggestion in Mr. Manhas’s letter of there being future benefit to the Saharawi people from the present exploration.  The activity, as we have noted in letters and statements, serves to lend credibility to a territorial annexation in circumstances where two senior international courts have determined the occupying state to have no basis whatsoever for a territorial claim to the territory and, thereby, its continental shelf.  To put it plainly, the present search for petroleum impedes the promises of the United Nations and equally those of Morocco under an agreement which commenced in 1991 that was to ensure for the Saharawi people the exercise of their right to self-determination.

Our government requests the present exploration to immediately be ended, while ensuring an acceptable level of environmental protection and, of course, the safe navigation of the vessels involved.  We also request that the seismic and bathymetric data obtained in the exploration be provide to us, consistent with obligations for marine scientific research under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

We look forward to your continuing engagement of this matter, and reply.

Yours sincerely,

Emhamed Khadad
Member of the Frente Polisaro Leadership
Advisor to the President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic

c:   His Excellency Ambassador Christopher Ross,
     Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Western Sahara

     Her Excellency Ambassador Kim Bolduc,
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Western Sahara    and Head, MINURSO


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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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