Norway: "Saharawi's wishes must be respected"
children_dakhla_610.jpg

Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs underlines that the wishes of the Sahrawis must be taken into account upon undertaking business in the territory of Western Sahara.
Published: 02.07 - 2011 13:30Printer version    
In a statement given by the Deputy Minister mid June, it was clarified that whenever the Norwegian government refers to "the local population" in Western Sahara "we of course refer to the Sahrawi people”.

The debate has now continued between Liberal parliamentarian Trine Skei Grande, and the the Norwegian minister for foreign affairs.

Unofficial translation to English below made by the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.
Read original debate (in Norwegian).

Question by Member of Parliament Trine Skei Grande (Liberal Party) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2011.

"Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that the Government considers Western Sahara to be under Moroccan annexation, that this annexation is not recognised and thus is considered illegitimate by the Government, and can the Minister guarantee that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will now actively advise against Norwegian commercial activities in connection with Western Sahara?"

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre’s answer, 27 June 2011:

"The Government’s Western Sahara policy remains unchanged. Norway supports the UN’s efforts to achieve a political solution that entails self-determination for the people of Western Sahara, and we urge the parties to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions.

Since Morocco does not exercise internationally recognised sovereignty over Western Sahara, Norway has never considered Western Sahara a part of Morocco’s territory. In the UN, the territory has status as non-self-governing, and, like most other countries, Norway does not recognise Morocco’s declaration that Western Sahara is a part of the Moroccan state.

This entails consequently that Norway does not recognise Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara and that we consider it illegitimate. This policy has remained constant during all Norwegian governments since the conflict arose in the 1970s. As I have also previously clarified for the Parliament, this entails among other things that the free trade agreement between EFTA and Morocco is not in force for Western Sahara (parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Dagfinn Høybråten (Christian Democratic Party) about EFTA’s free trade agreements with Morocco and Israel, respectively, on 11 May 2010).

Western Sahara’s unresolved status entails further that exploitation of resources in the area must, according to international law, be carried out in accordance with the wishes and interests of the local population. This, together with the consideration of avoiding behaviour that might be cited in support of a particular outcome of the UN’s negotiation process or be perceived as a legitimisation of the situation in Western Sahara, forms the basis for the Government’s dissuasion against commercial activity in Western Sahara.

I do not share the opinion that the the bureaucracy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is supposed to have expressed to the business community another attitude than that of the members of the Government in this matter. As I emphasised in my answer in the Parliament to the interpellation by MP Trine Skei Grande in May of 2010, the Government’s attitude to commercial activities in Western Sahara is clear and well known: the question has been commented on in the media frequently during recent years. The dissuasion has since 2007 been available at the Government’s web site. All business people are welcome to seek advise from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to the embassy in Rabat if they have questions about activities in the area, and many companies get in touch every year for such purposes. The White Paper on Corporate Social Responsibility, in which the Government’s dissuasion against economic activity in Western Sahara is explicitly mentioned, is also available on the Internet. The dissuasion is furthermore constantly passed on in connection with contact between Norwegian and Moroccan authorities with regard to business activities – the last time was in Morocco in June of 2011.

The Government will continue to actively inform about dissuasion in the same manner as earlier. "

    


EN ES FR DE AR

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.
Stand up for the Gdeim Izik 25!

tn_court_photo_gdeim_izik_610.jpg

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.
Support Western Sahara Resource Watch

tn_sjovik_demo_610.jpg

Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
Report: Moroccan green energy used for plunder

tn_poweringplunder_eng_610.jpg

At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.
The Western Sahara oil curse

tn_san_leon_protest_camps_8_august_2015_610x200.jpg

Big oil’s interest in occupied Western Sahara has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Some companies are now drilling, in complete disregard of international law and the Saharawi people’s rights. Here’s what you need to know.

WSRW.org News Archive 2017
WSRW.org News Archive 2016
WSRW.org News Archive 2015
WSRW.org News Archive 2014
WSRW.org News Archive 2013
WSRW.org News Archive 2012
WSRW.org News Archive 2011
WSRW.org News Archive 2010
WSRW.org News Archive 2009
WSRW.org News Archive 2008
WSRW.org News Archive 2007
WSRW.org News Archive 2004-2006


Register for our English newsletter:









These web pages have been built with the financial support of the trade union Industry Energy