PotashCorp stumbles in Western Sahara

The most heavily involved foreign firm in occupied Western Sahara, US-Canadian fertiliser company PotashCorp, has published a statement on its trade and on how it interprets the Western Sahara conflict. Read their erroneous text, and WSRW’s comments.
Published: 08.06 - 2011 16:18Printer version    
The US-Canadian fertiliser company PotashCorp (PCS), which imports phosphate rock from a Moroccan state owned firm in occupied Western Sahara, refuses to terminate its controversial and unethical purchases.

In a statement issued by the firm in April, PotashCorp even tries to give explanations as to why Western Sahara should remain under Moroccan control. They label Western Sahara as “Moroccan”, and claim that the Moroccan government has a “stabilizing influence” in the territory it illegally annexed.

The statement contains also a number of erroneous claims on international law and the US government position.

“Not only is PotashCorp today the most important financial contributor to the Moroccan occupation in Western Sahara through its massive and continuous purchases. With this new statement, PotashCorp is now also the boldest defender of the brutal occupation”, stated Sara Eyckmans of Western Sahara Resource Watch.

WSRW in Louisiana, US, on 26 April 2011 sent a letter to the firm, commenting on a number of factual errors in PotashCorp’s statement.

“We encourage PotashCorp to reconsider your public statement concerning the UN Legal Opinion of 2002, the US government position, the terminology of the territory ‘Moroccan Sahara’, and the assumption that Morocco has a stabilizing function in the territory it has illegally annexed”, stated the letter, pointing to all the errors and misinterpretations of the firm’s analysis.

PotashCorp on one occasion has even cut-and-pasted a quote from a speech of a pro-Moroccan Congressman, claiming that the quote is in fact from the US government.  The congressman's political campaigns are funded by the registered agent of the Moroccan government to the US, according to a recent article from the lobby watchdog organisation Sunlight Foundation.

Now, five weeks later, PotashCorp's unfortunate statements remain on their webages – including the firm's gravely erroneous and highly political comments regarding the conflict.

PotashCorp, and its predecessor firm, Arcadian, has been the biggest importer of phosphate rock from Western Sahara since at least 1987. Several European investors have divested from the company due to its unethical business practice in Western Sahara.

WSRW has also previously sent letters to the firm on 1 October 2008 and 11 January 2011.



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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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