What is Continental negotiating with OCP?
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As Continental renegotiates its contract with Morocco's national phosphate company, it is still not clear whether the German group intends to limit its operations to Morocco proper or extend them into occupied Western Sahara.
Published: 26.03 - 2020 09:45Printer version    
UPDATE, 31.03.2020: Western Sahara's liberation movement Frente Polisario on 30 March wrote to Continental, demanding the company to not prolonging its contract with OCP in Western Sahara. Polisario underlined the legal risk for the company if deciding to pursue further involvement with the mining operation in the territory.

The Hannover based company Continental has stated that it is currently renegotiating a new agreement with OCP, Morocco's state-owned phosphate company that also illegally exploits the phosphate reserves of occupied Western Sahara. But for which country do the negotiations take place? For Morocco only - or also for Western Sahara?

In a letter sent today, Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has asked Continental to clarify the scope of its negotiations.

Through its current deal with OCP, Continental's subsidiary ContiTech services the conveyor system that is used to transport phosphate rock from the Bou Craa mines over a distance of 100 kilometers to the port of El Aaiun, the capital of the occupied territory. From there, Western Sahara's conflict mineral is shipped out to a number of international clients that grows smaller and smaller, as a result of rising pressure from investors over human rights concerns.

Continental's current contract with OCP expires in June this year. In December 2019, WSRW reached out to encourage the company to seize the opportunity of renegotiations to limit its contractual operations to Morocco proper. But in its response of 10 January 2020, the company responded that it could not comment on ongoing negotiations.

Last week, the company responded along the same lines to a group of German NGOs that voiced their criticism over the company's involvement in occupied Western Sahara. The company also added that its contract with OCP was not a maintenance contract, but rather a supply contract.

WSRW has now asked the company to clarify both issues: whether the company's contract is of a supply and/or maintenance nature, and whether the contract will result in Continental's services being deployed in occupied Western Sahara.

"We understand and respect that you are not in a position to comment on the content of ongoing negotiations. But the question remains whether the contract as such will apply to Western Sahara or not. In other words, is Continental renegotiating a contract with the Moroccan state-owned company OCP that will limit Continental’s engagement to Morocco proper, or will it also be applied extra-territorially to the Non-Self-Governing Territory of Western Sahara?", the letter reads.

In 2019, OCP exported 1 million tonnes of phosphate rock from the occupied territory according to WSRW's annual report P for Plunder.

Morocco has illegally occupied a large part of the territory of Western Sahara since 1975, and has no right to export minerals from the territory it holds under occupation.

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Top
News:

30.03 - 2020 / 26.03 - 2020Africa main importer of frozen Saharawi fish
26.03 - 2020 / 27.08 - 2010Support Western Sahara Resource Watch
26.03 - 2020 / 25.03 - 2020What is Continental negotiating with OCP?
18.03 - 2020 / 18.03 - 2020 EU Commission backtracks on labelling Western Sahara goods
16.03 - 2020 / 16.03 - 2020German organisations condemn Continental's conflict conveyor
09.03 - 2020 / 06.03 - 2020EU Parliament set for blind landing of aviation deal
08.03 - 2020 / 06.03 - 2020Brexit UK risks copying EU’s Sahara flaws
05.03 - 2020 / 24.11 - 2018Here is the EU Council's legal advice on fishing in occupied waters
05.03 - 2020 / 05.03 - 2020Polisario files lawsuit against Kiwi pension fund
24.02 - 2020 / 20.02 - 2020New report: Western Sahara phosphate trade halved
21.02 - 2020 / 21.02 - 2020Why does this EU statement keep disappearing?
19.02 - 2020 / 19.02 - 2020EU reaffirms: Western Sahara products to be labelled as such
10.02 - 2020 / 10.02 - 2020Spectacular backtracking by EU Commission on Western Sahara labelling
10.02 - 2020 / 10.02 - 2020Morocco tenders solar energy on occupied land
07.02 - 2020 / 07.02 - 2020Siemens again refuses to answer questions about Western Sahara at AGM
06.02 - 2020 / 06.02 - 2020EU Commission: products from Western Sahara must be labelled as such
22.01 - 2020 / 22.01 - 2020States urge Spain to respect Saharawi rights in Human Rights Council
13.01 - 2020 / 13.01 - 2020Continental negotiating contract renewal with OCP
25.12 - 2019 / 10.11 - 2019Fugro is back in occupied Western Sahara
10.12 - 2019 / 09.12 - 2019Flotilla targets phosphate plunder ship




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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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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.
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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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Help us to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara for the Saharawi people. Support our work by making a donation.
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