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Western Sahara

On 17 October, British foreign secretary William Hague visited Rabat, Morocco, saying that the Arab Spring uprisings had increasing the importance of resolving the dispute over Western Sahara. However, Hague did not point out that Morocco had illegally invaded and occupied Western Sahara in 1975. His main purpose in visiting Morocco was “to strengthen our partnership with and our support for Morocco”, especially in relation to trade. Hague also failed to mention recent attacks by Moroccan security forces on Sahrawi demonstrations in Dakhla (25 September) and Laayoune (10 October). An attempt by 77 members of the European parliament to stop EU collusion with Morocco was blocked by the rest of the parliament on 29 September. An EU-Morocco fisheries agreement enables 119 EU boats to fish in the rich coastal waters of occupied Western Sahara. The European parliament’s own special rapporteur, Carl Haglund, said in a report on 20 September that there were “no reasons” to an economically-pointless agreement that is “ecologically and environmentally unsustainable”. A proposal to refer the agreement to the European court of justice for a ruling on its legality was defeated by 302 votes to 202. www.wsahara.org.uk

Topics: Western Sahara