Saharawi groups object to EU's Western Sahara trade plans
No less than 93 Saharawi groups have called on the EU institutions to respect the will of the people of Western Sahara when negotiating trade or fisheries agreements that will affect their occupied land.
"We call upon the EU member states and the EU Parliament to reject any proposed agreement covering Western Sahara that does not have the explicit consent of the POLISARIO Front, as the legitimate representative and recognized by the UN as such - of the people of Western Sahara", the text reads.
The document has been signed by 93 Saharawi organisations from the occupied territory, the refugee camps and the diaspora.
The organisations express their full support to solid EU-Morocco relations, but ask that they be limited to Morocco proper.
The EU Member States are expected to vote on a proposed trade arrangement for Western Sahara that has been negotiated with Morocco - following a ruling by the EU Court of Justice in December 2016 concluding that no EU-Morocco trade or association agreement could be applied to Western Sahara, unless with the consent of the people of Western Sahara.
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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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.