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EU Council Instructs European Commission to Include Western Sahara in Fisheries Deal

EU Council Instructs European Commission to Include Western Sahara in Fisheries Deal

Rabat- The 28 European Union member states have approved a mandate instructing the European Commission to open new negotiations to include Western Sahara in the EU-Morocco fisheries deal and to consolidate the partnership between the two parties.

Earlier today, the Council of the European Union adopted the negotiations mandate, ordering the commission to include the adjacent waters into the new fisheries deal, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported, quoting a European source.

The source added that the mandate states that “the waters off the coast” of the region will be “covered by the fisheries partnership between Morocco and the EU.”

According to MAP, the negotiating mandate falls within the framework of a joint statement issued by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, on February 27, 2018.

The statement came in response to the ruling handed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the EU-Fisheries Agreement, which decided that the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco is, “valid insofar as it is not applicable to Western Sahara or to its adjacent waters,” adding that, if the EU and Morocco included the Western Sahara region in their agreement, it would violate certain rules of “international law applicable to relations between the EU and Kingdom of Morocco.”

The Moroccan and the European Union officials reiterated their commitment to the strategic partnership and their determination to preserve and strengthen it.

Both parties have agreed to further reinforce their political dialogue and preserve the stability of trade relations.

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