“International agreements which do not exclude ‘the Moroccan Sahara’ from their application, prove that the area is Moroccan”, Moroccan Minister of Communication Mustapha El Khalfi said in an interview.
Pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat’s interview with Mustapha El Khalfi
14 January, was focussed on the political stalemate that is Western Sahara. [Can also be downloaded in PDF
When asked whether there are documents that support Morocco’s claim that Western Sahara is part of its national territory, he explained that there are “more than 12 international agreements with countries such Great Britain, USA, France and Spain, that do not exclude the Sahara from their application”.
Though no country in the world recognises Morocco's self-proclaimed sovereignty over Western Sahara, some countries fail to back-up that non-recognition in their trade relations. That said, other governments do.
While claiming to neutrally support the UN peace process in Western Sahara, the European Union uses vague territorial specifications in its economic agreements with Morocco, leaving it entirely up to the latter to define its own national boundaries. As a consequence, produce from occupied Western Sahara is currently being sold in European supermarkets, stamped as from Morocco.
Interests lobbying for the continued EU fisheries in occupied Western Sahara, mostly Spanish parlamentarians in the EU Parliament's Fisheries Committee, have continuously expressed that EU fisheries cooperation with Morocco in the waters of the territory has no political implications. The Moroccan minister now says otherwise.
"The European Union is currently negotiating a new Protocol to the fisheries agreement with Morocco. It is disappointing the Union would wish to back-up Morocco's unfounded claims to Western Sahara by not distinguishing between the two territories", said Sara Eyckmans, coordinator of Western Sahara Resource Watch.
“The financial aspect [of the Fisheries Agreement] is not necessarily the most important aspect of this agreement. The political aspect is just as important”, said Morocco's fisheries minister to a Moroccan newspaper in 2006.