A new Moroccan webpage about the Advanced Status to the EU has now seen its light.
The homepage, www.statut-avance.com, was registered on the 22nd of October 2008, and was announced on the Moroccan ministry of information propaganda service, MAP, on November 4th.
It is not clear on the webpage who is behind it. But according to MAP, it could be the Moroccan government:
"Morocco has launched, on Tuesday, a website dedicated to the advanced status granted by the EU to Morocco in view of promoting this agreement as well as the reforms undertaken by the Kingdom", MAP wrote.
As far as Western Sahara Resource Watch understands, the EU has actually not yet granted any Advanced Status to Morocco, only stated their intention to do so.
The site further states that it is "meant to provide information on the status and pays a tribute to those who support Morocco’s endeavours", according to MAP.
The webpage mentions places within Western Sahara as being part of Morocco, such as the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, which are quoted as being important ports for Moroccan processing of fish.
Even the small logo of the entire page carries a map of Morocco, including territories that are both under Moroccan occupation and Polisario control. See its logo on the right.
No countries in the world, including none of the EU states, recognise Western Sahara as being part of Morocco.
Controversial sister pages The new page which according to MAP is launched by "Morocco" is affiliated to a number of obscure Moroccan propaganda sites which have appeared over the last two years. It is registered by the US based company www.DomainsByProxy.com, the same registrant as used by a number of other controversial Moroccan pages, discrediting the other party of the Western Sahara conflict, the liberation movement Polisario.
The US blogger Will Sommer has on his blog One Hump or Two uncovered how the Moroccan sites are all related through the same servers.
This is the case for anti-Polisario pages such as www.polisario-confidentiel.com, www.polisario-verdad.org, www.camps-sequestres.org, www.lavage-de-cerveau.com and www.rabouni.com. They all appear to have the same graphical designer and registered on the same server. They also produce and reproduce the same news, together with MAP. Also the now closed propaganda site www.speakforsaharawis.org, which claimed to be a voice for Sahrawis abused by Polisario, had the same registrant. Most of the news on these sites are inventions, mentioning events, organisations etc. that do not exist, and quoting people erroneously.
The interesting new development, is that MAP now admits that www.statut-avance.com, which is on the same registrant as the mentioned propaganda sites, is actually made by what can only be interpreted as the Moroccan government.
The new webpage on the Advanced Status does not mention what plans Morocco has to withdraw from the territory it illegally occupies. Morocco remains in Western Sahara, despite over 100 resolutions from the UN Security Council and General Assembly demanding right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara to be implemented.
On 6th of November 1975, 33 years ago, Morocco entered its neighbouring country despite of the ruling of the International Court of Justice, which said Morocco has no legitimate claim over the territory. Read the full version of the 1975 opinion here.
A petition was launched by Western Sahara Resource Watch this week-end to demand from the EU Commission that the Advanced Status shall only cover Morocco as it is internationally recognised, and not to include occupied Western Sahara. After 4 days, 55 organisations have so far signed the petition. The petition, with all signatories, will be sent to the Commission on December 4th.
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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