The European Parliament gave its green light on Wednesday to amend the trade agreement between the European Union and Morocco to include the southern part of Western Sahara, administered by Morocco without being under its sovereignty from the point of view international law.
Former Spanish colony, Western Sahara is claimed since 1976 by Morocco, which occupies five-sixths, and by the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic proclaimed by the Polisario Front on the rest of the territory.
The Court of Justice of the European Union, seized by the Polisario Front, estimated in December 2016 that the EU-Morocco agreement of 2013 could not apply to Western Sahara unless representatives of its inhabitants consent and the territory is explicitly mentioned in the text of the agreement.
Proposed last June by the European Commission, the amendments to the trade liberalization agreement provide for products originating from Western Sahara to benefit from this, with the aim of contributing to the economic development of the region.
“Consultations with a wide range of representatives of local society, civil society and other representative organizations, have shown broad support” for this project, says the Commission. A point of view taken by the European Parliament after sending its own mission on the ground.
The last negotiations on the status of Western Sahara, held in December in Geneva, between Algerian, Moroccan and Mauritanian foreign ministers and representatives of the Polisario Front, were completed with no other result than the promise of a continuation of the dialogue.