Demands end to occupation before deeper cooperation
Irish Member of European Parliament, Kathy Sinnott, demands that the occupation of Western Sahara must end and that the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement be reviewed before the EU gives any so-called 'Advanced Status' to Morocco.
This speach below was given in plenary session of the European Parliament, on Monday 16th of June 2008.
Kathy Sinnott, MEP
Speaking Time on Policy coherence for development and the effects of the EU's exploitation of certain biological natural resources on development in West Africa According to the report, it is pointed out that Timber and fish are two of West Africa's most important resources. As the EU is the main destination of these products we must play a significant role in the development of these resources in a way that promotes sustainable development in West Africa.
The EU is now considering granting Morocco 'advanced status' which allows for greater trade opportunities, a deeper political dialogue and cooperation on foreign policy and security matters. We are not opposed to this agreement in principle if Morocco agrees to end all human rights abuses in the illegally occupied territory of Western Sahara, that Morocco agrees to a free and fair referendum for the people of Western Sahara, that the Fisheries Partnership Agreement is reviewed and that the Saharawi population of Western Sahara are allowed to live as equal citizens to their Moroccan counterparts.
There are many reasons why Morocco is not qualified to be given advanced status. Notably, by granting Morocco an advanced status the EU will certainly strengthen Morocco's illegal occupation, and make the political process towards a free and fair referendum more difficult. In addition, granting 'advanced status' to Morocco would be going against the United Nation's mission to organise a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara.
The granting of an advanced status to a country that is not ready does not fit in with the EU's goal of promoting sustainable development in West Africa and should therefore not be granted.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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