EU tribunal quashes trade and fisheries deals with Morocco, giving clear message to New Zealand phosphate import companies
On September 29, the General Court of the European Union rendered a historic decision of significant importance in international law for Western Sahara. Western Sahara is Africa’s last colony, illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975, and even facing a UN-administered self-determination referendum agreed in 1991. New Zealand is a large-scale importer of rock phosphate high quality from Western Sahara. In 2017-18, the High Court of South Africa noted that the Saharawi people are the legitimate owners of the resource.
The European Court ruled that the 2019 revised fisheries and trade agreements concluded by the European Union with the Kingdom of Morocco were invalid as they illegally included the territory of Western Sahara.
The Court confirmed its previous judgments which concluded that there was no sovereign link between Morocco and Western Sahara because they are separate and distinct territories.
The Court recognized the legal personality of the Frente POLISARIO and its capacity to plead before the courts, as well as its capacity to represent the people of Western Sahara and to defend their political and economic interests.
The Court also concluded that the consent of the people of Western Sahara is required for agreements proposed to extend or cover the territory. Actions taken in 2019 and subsequently by EU authorities could not be considered to have obtained this consent.
Kamal Fadel, the Polisario representative in Australia and New Zealand urged that “in light of the landmark decision of the EU High Court, it is time for New Zealand companies Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Ravensdown immediately cease their illegal involvement in the looting of phosphates from Western Sahara. through agreements made with the occupying power, Morocco. “He added that” Ballance and Ravensdown have never sought the consent of the Saharawi people and ignored the calls to end the looting of Saharawi phosphates “.
Mr. Fadel added that “the Polisario Front as the legitimate representative of the people of Western Sahara reserves the right to seek compensation from the two Kiwi companies for the pecuniary damage caused over the past three decades if the companies persist in their illegal trade of stolen goods from Western Sahara. “
The Saharawi authorities have noted that the territory of Western Sahara has been in a state of war since Morocco violated the ceasefire on November 13, 2020 and reaffirm that they cannot guarantee the security of foreign entities involved with the occupier. Moroccan in the plundering of Saharawi natural resources. resources, considered to aid and encourage the crimes of occupation against the Saharawi people.
The Sahrawi authorities also observe that international humanitarian law applies to Western Sahara and that article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the plundering of the resources of an occupied territory.
The Saharawi authorities are ready and willing to engage in discussions and cooperate with international investors and those interested in the important natural resources of Western Sahara.
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