Le Journal Hebdomadaire/Assahifa al- Ousbouia (Morocco) 12 January 2005 [Translated from French by Sahara Update]
The American oil prospection giant Kerr Mc-Gee announces the cessation of their activities in the south of Morocco. After Total and two smaller operators, the departure of the American company, under pressure from Polisario’s activists, is proving problematic for the Kingdom.
Under the same means of pressure as was used against the other operators, Kerr McGee has withdrawn in order not to alienate investment funds that are increasingly concerned about the “ethical” dimension of their placements.
The offensive was launched from Norway by a sympathiser of the separatists by the name of Erik Hagen, a representative of the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara. He explains the withdrawal of Total with the efficiency of the financial threat. This assertion contradicts the communiqué published by Total at the beginning of December which explains the reasons for their withdrawal as purely economic.
Several Norwegian investment funds, among them Skagen, have decided to cease involvement in companies operating in the Sahara for “ethical” reasons. The Norwegian Support Committee for Polisario asserts that the biggest investment fund in the country, the “Norwegian Petroleum Fund”, managing 120 billion Euros, is on the verge of adopting the same sanctions.
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.
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.
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