EU Court of Justice advocate general Finds that Western Sahara not part of EU-Morocco Trade Deal

BRUSSELS, Sept, 15, 2016 (SPS)– Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Advocate-General Melchior Wathelet revealed his long-awaited opinion on the EU-Morocco agricultural agreement, finding Western Sahara is not part of Morocco, and that the EU-Morocco Association Agreement and the Liberalisation Agreement do not apply to it.

 

The deal was signed in 2012 and subsequently annulled by the European Court of Justice on the grounds that the people of Western Sahara – occupied by Morocco since 1975 – were not consulted and did not consent to trade involving their land and resources. As a result Western Sahara is clearly excluded from any trade deals involving Morocco and other states. The Frente POLISARIO has long drawn attention to the fact that Morocco plunders and exploits the resources of Western Sahara, in violation international law.

 

Emhamed Khadad, a member of the Secretariat of the POLISARIO, was in Brussels this week to hear the decision. Following the Advocate-General's ruling, Khadad said: "This is an important opinion and reaffirms once again that under international law Western Sahara is not part of Morocco. The POLISARIO looks forward to the Court's final ruling on the matter expected later this year. In line with this effort, the POLISARIO stands ready to work with our EU partners to take all necessary measures to support the resumption of a political process that ensures the rights of the Saharawi people are upheld.”

 

Khadad added: “By appealing the decision of the Court, the EU is failing to uphold its international obligations. The EU has both a moral and legal obligation to protect the rights of the Saharawi people in their fight for self-determination and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Furthermore, it is not surprising to see that France is leading the appeals process as France has consistently obstructed every effort at achieving a political resolution to the conflict in the UN Security Council, as witnessed once again during last Friday’s Council meeting.” SPS

 

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