The Greens | European Free Alliance in the European Parliament
16.05.06 PRESS RELEASE
EU-Morocco fisheries agreement
Parliament supports the plundering of Western Saharan fish
Green MEPs today condemned the vote in the European Parliament, approving the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, which would enable fishing by EU vessels in the waters of occupied Western Sahara. Speaking after the vote, Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter and Spanish Green MEP Raul Romeva said:
"By approving the fisheries agreement with Morocco, which includes Western Saharan waters, the European Parliament has supported what is clearly an illegal agreement. Morocco has no right to grant access to waters that do not belong to it. By approving this agreement, the Parliament is guilty of supporting the neo-colonial occupation of Western Sahara.
"The UN previously ruled that further exploitation of the natural resources of the Saharawi people would violate the principles of international law and the internationally-recognised representatives of the Saharawi, the Polisario Front, have condemned the agreement, yet the EU has chosen to ignore them. The EU-Morocco agreement amounts to de facto recognition of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara in exchange for rights to catch a few fish - a paltry trade-off.
"As recently as last October, the Parliament adopted a resolution that called for support for the rights of the Saharawi people and the preservation of the natural resources of Western Sahara. It has today endorsed an agreement, which is directly in conflict with this resolution. The Council is now set to approve this agreement next week despite the opposition of certain Member States. A proposed declaration - that the agreement should not prejudge a political solution in Western Sahara - to be adopted in conjunction with the agreement will be of limited solace to the Sarahawi people but we call on all Member States to support this initiative."
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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Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
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