Saharawi parliamentarians condemn Engie controversy

The French company Engie has since 2023 been installing windmills in occupied Western Sahara for a massive project that would lead to the large-scale settlement of Moroccan farmers in the occupied territory. 

03 July 2024

The Engie project - possibly the most controversial of all foreign projects currently going on in occupied Western Sahara today - consists of transforming seawater into fresh water, which in turn will be channeled through an irrigation system into the desert. There, a massive agriculture project is being built for the benefit of Moroccan illegal settlers. 

The project is carried out with the Moroccan government. In all its external communication, and its known reports and contracts, Engie refers to the location of the project as in “Morocco” and shows a total disregard for the UN's approach to the conflict.

“The Sahrawi National Assembly strongly condemns the blatant involvement of the Engie company in the consolidation of the illegal Moroccan occupation in the territory of Western Sahara”, stated Deputy-Speaker of the Saharawi Parliament, Abdalahi Elmerkhi. 

Western Sahara Resource Watch has received images taken in front of the Saharawi parliament on 27 June, the closing day of the parliament's winter session, where Elmerkhi gave comments to the matter.

He stated that they “demand the cancellation and withdrawal of all projects and activities of the Engie company in the territory of Western Sahara”.

The Saharawi parliament is based in the refugee camps in Algeria. 

Instead of obtaining consent from the people of the territory, as is required under international law, Engie has obtained all permits from the neighbouring country of Morocco. In addition, it contracted a French firm Global Diligence to enter into an alleged “stakeholder consultation” with what is most likely Moroccan interests on the occupied territory. WSRW has asked for the immediate publication of the Global Diligence study 

It is exactly this sort of misleading “consultation process” with Moroccan interests that is being tried in the ongoing court case in European Court of Justice, where a ruling on EU-Morocco trade agreements is expected later this year. 

The project is located 130 kilometers north of Dakhla.

Western Sahara Resource Watch and the French association APSO wrote Engie on 11.01.2019 and on 09.12.2020. Engie responded on 13.04.2021. WSRW sent a new letter on 17.05.2021, 22.05.2023 and 22.09.2023. The letter was responded to on 28.09.2023, without the company addressing any of the questions it had been asked. WSRW wrote Engie again on 13.10.2023, responded by Engie 16.10.2023.

Deputy-Speaker of the Saharawi Parliament, Abdalahi Elmerkhi. 
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