The finalization of EU-Morocco agreements has been a blow to Polisario’s expectations.
Rabat – After failing to hinder the EU-Morocco negotiations regarding the fisheries and agriculture agreements, Polisario has described the agreements as “illegal.”
Through its official news agency, the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) said that the Polisario “condemns the illegal and short-sighted decision by the EU Parliament to extend the EU-Morocco trade deal.”
Despite Polisario’s lobbying in the EU Parliament, Morocco and the EU adopted the agriculture agreement and signed the fisheries deal to extend trade. Both agreements included Morocco’s southern provinces in Western Sahara, frustrating the separatist group.
“The Frente Polisario, acting on behalf of the people of Western Sahara, will pursue every legal avenue to reverse today’s illegal decision,” added the front.
While claiming legitimacy over Sahrawis in Western Sahara, the Moroccan government finds the separatist group unqualified to represent all Sahrawis. One reason Morocco takes the position is the petition signed by a group of local residents in the natural resource-rich regions of Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab and Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra.
In the petition, Sahrawis acknowledged the fast development in the region because of the earlier fisheries and agriculture deals, which benefit the region.
The petitioners called on European decision-makers to adopt the agreements, given the “tangible” impact that previous versions have had in the lives of locals in the southern provinces.
“The southern provinces are now ranked above the national average for human development indicators,” they wrote.
After the adoption of the agriculture agreement, Morocco’s Minister of Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch said that the deals create 66,000 job opportunities in the southern provinces under the Moroccan Green Plan and the Halieutis plan.
Akhannouch recalled the visit of EU officials to the region. He said the visit enabled the parliamentarians to be informed on the situation in these regions and the development projects there.
Polisario has long claimed that Morocco has been “exploiting the natural resources” of the region. But for Morocco’s government, the agreements discredit Polisario’s allegations.
The conclusion of the agriculture agreement also angered Polisario’s main supporter, Algeria.
Algerian state-owned news agency APS quoted an anonymous Algerian source who said that the vote was a “genuine crime.”
The source said that the vote also constitutes a “violation” of the Court of Justice’s ruling, which stated that EU deals with Morocco were invalid if they included Western Sahara.
Quoted from Brussels, the source said that the vote was a “real ugliness committed” in the EU Parliament.