Rabat – The leader of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, urging him to condemn “any illegal exploitation of natural resources of Western Sahara” that would “hinder” the UN political process.
In the letter, printed in the official separatist news agency and Algeria’s official news agency, Ghali urges the UN top chief to put pressure on Morocco and the European Union, calling for the suspension of the signed agreements, including the fisheries deal.
“I urge you to call on the European Union and its member states to abandon their ongoing negotiations on trade and fisheries agreements with the Kingdom of Morocco in case [those agreements] include Western Sahara,” said the separatist leader.
Recalling the ruling of the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ), Ghali said that “ the EU-Morocco Fisheries agreement cannot be applied neither in Western Sahara nor to the waters adjacent to it.”
On February 27, the ECJ decided that if the EU and Morocco included the Western Sahara territory in the scope of their fisheries agreement “that would be contrary to certain rules of general international law that are applicable in relations between the EU and Kingdom of Morocco.”
The EU court added that the fisheries deal is applicable to “waters falling within the sovereignty or jurisdiction” of Morocco.
The separatist representative claimed that this ruling confirms that “Western Sahara does not form part of the soil of the Kingdom of Morocco.”
Reacting to the ECJ, Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, hinted at the possibility that Morocco may suspend its fisheries agreement with the EU.
In an interview that aired on March 4 on Moroccan TV channel 2M, Aziz Akhannouch did not exclude the possibility of the suspension of the fisheries agreement if it affects Morocco’s sovereignty.
When asked about the possibility of ending the EU-Morocco agreement, Akhannouch remarked that “Anything is possible. It could stop [this week], but that depends on the position of the European Union because we are not part of the ECJ’s decision.”
The Moroccan official added that the ECJ’s decision did not recognize the role of the Polisario Front in this matter, as the separatist group has long-been appealing against the EU-Morocco Fisheries and Agriculture Agreements.
According to Akhannouch, the interests of Morocco and the EU require a review of the ECJ’s decision “with the aim of a final result.”
“It is Europe’s duty to give Morocco the value it deserves,” Akhannouch added.“If the EU offers a positive interaction that meets Morocco’s conditions, we will work together, if not, we will abandon the agreement without any problem,” stressed the Moroccan official.