Libyan state oil company in Western Sahara meets international protest
According to Moroccan press reports this week-end, a subsidiary of the Libyan state oil company Tamoil will invest 100 to 150 million dollars in occupied Western Sahara. "If this is true, it would mean a serious betrayal of the Sahrawi people's legitimate struggle against occupation", says Western Sahara Resource Watch, an international network organisation working in solidarity with the Sahrawi people. Read also: Tamoil denies engagement in Western Sahara
A newly established Libyan-Moroccan oil company Tamoil Sakia –based in El Aaiun, Western Sahara- is said to be ready to invest between 100 and 150 million dollars in the petroleum sector in Western Sahara.
This sum is to be invested over the next 2 years. If oil is discovered the investment could be doubled, according to the company's general manager, Libyan Salem Bayet Al Malto, quoted by the Moroccan newspaper Le Matin.
The deals are said to include both onshore and later offshore oil exploration permits, as well as distribution of petroleum products in Western Sahara. The activities are said to begin in 2008.
"Western Sahara is under illegal and brutal occupation by Morocco. The UN has also made it clear that further oil exploration in Western Sahara would be in violation of international law. Entering into oil exploration agreements with Morocco in Western Sahara is therefore highly unethical. It also risks strengthening the occupation, as well as prolonging the exile of the Sahrawi refugees in Algeria", said Javier Lachica, coordinator of the international campaign group Western Sahara Resource Watch.
"If this these news reports are true, it would mean a serious betrayal of the Sahrawi people's legitimate struggle against occupation, and a serious affront to the efforts of the United Nations for a solution to the conflict. We would believe that cooperating with Morocco in plundering the possible oil wealth in Western Sahara is too unethical and controversial for any state company to even consider", said Lachica.
Western Sahara Resource Watch urges Tamoil to reconisider their involvement in Western Sahara.
Tamoil Sakia is said to also consist of investors from what the Moroccan media refer to as "Moroccan Sahara".
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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