Can the UN Security Council interfere in the European Union’s decision to include Western Sahara in the fisheries and agriculture agreements with Morocco?
Rabat – After failing to secure enough votes in the European Parliament to cancel the EU-Morocco fisheries and agriculture agreements, the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) has resorted to the Security Council.
The official news agency of the separatist group reported that the self-styled Polisario representative to the UN, Sidi Mohammed Ammar, sent a letter to “Ambassador José Singer Weisinger, Special Envoy of the Dominican Republic to the Security Council, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council for this month.”
The separatist group said that the letter aims to “draw the attention of the members of the United Nations Security Council to the serious threat posed by the EU’s attempts” to include the southern provinces in the agreements.
The front claimed that the agreements might hinder the UN-led political process to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the Western Sahara conflict.
In a post published after the adoption of the EU-Morocco agriculture agreement, the front described the EU decision as “illegal.”
The EU decided to approve the inclusion of Western Sahara in both agreements, frustrating Polisario and its supporter Algeria. The EU approved the agreements after a series of negotiations between Brussels and Rabat.
Smoothing out the ECJ wrinkle
The EJC ruled in February 2018 that the fisheries deal between the EU and Morocco is valid as long as does not include Western Sahara and its waters.
The Moroccan government, however, responded that Morocco would not cooperate with Brussels if the agreements did not include the region.
In an interview with Moroccan television channel 2M last year, Morocco’s Minister of Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch said that the government is ready to suspend the agreements if the ECJ’s verdict affected Morocco’s sovereignty.
“Morocco does not need the €40 million that the European Union would pay to Morocco in exchange for allowing European fishermen [to operate in Moroccan waters]. There are agreements amounting to €35 billion, all of which are in favor of the EU,” the official said.
Akhannouch reiterated Morocco’s sovereignty, saying if the EU offered a “positive interaction that meets Morocco’s conditions, we will work together, if not, we will abandon the agreement without any problem.”
The European Union adopted the agriculture agreement on January 16, deeming the ECJ not to have authority over trade agreements.
During her meeting with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, Mogherini said that Rabat and Brussels are aspiring to make a qualitative leap in their ties to build a regional partnership, particularly in the Mediterranean, the Arab world, and Africa.
She added that Morocco has been a “strategic partner of the EU for 50 years.”