"Does the Commission not think the EU should work within the framework of international peace, and should support the UNís efforts to negotiate a solution to the conflict? Has the Commission consulted the Saharawi people and have they consented to fisheries in Western Saharan waters?", asked a member of European Parliament today to the European Commission.
Spanish Member of European Parliament, RaŁl Romeva i Rueda from The Greens today asked the European Commission how they can justify continuing ahead with plans for renewing the EU fisheries agreement with Morocco for Western Saharan waters.
The full question can be read below.
No state in the world has recognised the illegal Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara. However, the EU is considering , from 2013, paying millions of Euros annually to the Government of Morocco to allow EU vessels to fish in the waters offshore the territory. Morocco continues to refuse to cooperate with the decolonization process in Western Sahara, in defiance of more than One hundred (100) UN resolutions that insist on the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. Simultaneously, Moroccan authorities commit human rights violations against Sahrawis who voice their political views.
The UN special envoy to Western Sahara has specifically placed the management of natural resources on the negotiating table to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. In this context, cooperating with Morocco in exploiting Western Saharaís natural resources undermines the UNís peace efforts.
According to international law the natural resources in Western Sahara can only be exploited with regard to the wishes and interests of the people of the territory.
Despite of this the EU is now planning to transfer European taxpayersí money to the Government of Morocco for access to Western Saharan waters, without apparently consulting the Saharawi people. It was out of these concerns that the European Parliament stopped EU fisheries in Western Sahara in 2011. The Saharawi people have the right to be heard. No further EU fisheries operations should take place in Western Sahara until a peaceful solution to the conflict has been found.
Thus, how does the Commission justify continuing ahead with plans for renewing the EU fisheries agreement with Morocco for Western Saharan waters? Does the Commission not think the EU should work within the framework of international peace, and should support the UNís efforts to negotiate a solution to the conflict? Has the Commission consulted the Saharawi people and have they consented to fisheries in Western Saharan waters?
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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