UN: natural resources new front for Western Sahara talks

UN special envoy to Western Sahara states how the natural resources are currently the main topic of peace talks between Morocco and Polisario.
Published: 29.01 - 2012 18:12Printer version    
Christopher Ross, a former US top diplomat, was in 2009 appointed the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, for the Western Sahara conflict. In an interview published on the UN webpages 25 January 2012, Mr. Ross talks about the need to end the Western Sahara conflict and the human tragedy of the conflict.

Among the issues he brings up are the natural resources. He clarifies how the natural resources are introduced as the new front for the so far deadlocked UN sponsored talks between Morocco and Polisario.

“They’ve agreed that they could begin by discussing natural resources and demining and then moving on to other subjects”, Mr. Ross stated.

Ross refers to the urgent need that the conflict is solved:

“The costs include the humanitarian plight of the refugees, increasing questions about human rights, the expense of maintaining significant military forces, and an inability to plan for the use of the natural resources of Western Sahara in a proper way“, Ross stated.

Western Sahara Resource Watch has long argued that Morocco’s plundering of the resources of the territory, in violation of the principles defined by the UN on the matter, contributes to uphold the unsustainable status quo.

While the two parties are in UN talks over the natural resources of Western Sahara, Morocco is now about to enter a free-trade/agriculture agreement with the EU, which would entail an increased plunder of the resources of the Saharawi people.

The main beneficiaries of the upcoming agricultural agreement are the owners of plantation lands in Western Sahara, including the King of Morocco, one of the wealthiest regents in the world.




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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