Morocco’s government spokesperson said that the European Parliament foreign affairs committee’s positive view on the EU-Morocco agriculture deal “has brushed aside” allegations against Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Rabat – Speaking at a press conference after the government council on Thursday, Mustapha El Khalfi said that the vote of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) ended the allegations that Morocco exploits the natural resources of Western Sahara, claims promoted by the opponents of Morocco’s territorial integrity.
On November 21, AFET adopted the Morocco-EU agriculture deal. For Morocco, the vote reflects the positive position of political groups that represent the commission and the EU Parliament.
El Khalfi said, “What is essential as a major message is that during the 2018 year, two fictitious allegations fell,” referring to Security Council Resolution 2440 and its decision to thwart Polisario’s “liberated zones” claims.
The minister noted that the claim that the area in Western Sahara east of the defense wall was under the control of the separatist group has ended. He added that it was a Moroccan region and that responsibility for its management had been transferred to the UN MINURSO mission.
El Khalfi emphasized that any illegal activity in the region is a “provocation and must be stopped.”
He also said that the AFET vote in favor of the EU-Morocco deal contributes to the downfall of Polisario’s claim about Morocco’s “exploitation” of Western Sahara’s natural resources.
Resolution 2440 urges Polisario to withdraw from the Guerguerat buffer strip and has called on the separatist group to stop any activity that might destabilize the status quo of the region.
The resolution, voted on in October by the members of the UN Security Council, “further calls on the Frente POLISARIO to fully adhere to its commitments to the Personal Envoy with respect to Bir Lahlou, Tifariti,” which Polisario had claimed as liberated zones.
Other EU commissions will discuss the EU-Morocco agricultural deal, including the commission of foreign trade and fisheries (INTA) before the final vote on the agreement.
Besides the agriculture agreement, Morocco and the EU also agreed to renew their fisheries deal, which expired on July 14.
The fisheries deal must pass through the EU Parliament and receive ratification by all 28 EU member states before entering into effect.