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Western Sahara : Morocco warns South Africa

 Brussels – Morocco warned the South African authorities of their anti-Moroccan behavior and policies and if they do not stop these policies and behavior, they will have an appropriate political position. This came during a statement of Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bureita to a parliamentary committee on the detention of a Moroccan steamer in South Africa’s territorial waters, at the request of the Polisario Front.

Boreita said that “the detention of Moroccan ships by South Africa is a new maneuver against our territorial unit, in which South Africa adopts an anti-Moroccan stance and supports the separatist of the Polisario Front to establish an independent state in the land that Morocco recovered from Spain in 1976.”

The Moroccan foreign minister stressed that the detention of Moroccan ships by South Africa is purely political, and it’s not about the legality of transporting the goods, which these ships carry to other countries because Morocco deals fully with international law and its rules.

He added that the judicial review of the issue of the detention of Moroccan ships by the South African jurisdiction raises more than a question, because South Africa has no direct stake in the goods carried on board the ship and there is no person who holds identity of South Africa, it’s not directed to South Africa, but to other States, which is a lack of jurisdiction of this court on this case.

“We are not afraid of the judiciary because our legal status is sound towards international law,” he said. “If South Africa continues to politicize the subject of Moroccan ships, Morocco will have a response Political as well”.

He warned that South Africa would continue to harass Morocco and would resort to the detention of Moroccan vessels in its territorial waters on the basis of a false complaint. South Africa would lose the trust of its partners.

Last week, the Algeria backed Polisario tried to repeat the strike this time from Panama Port Elizabeth, but the Panamanian authorities released the ship shortly after because it was in line with international law or UN Security Council resolutions related to the Sahara conflict. This decision will put pressure on South Africa which has, apparently, tried to create a dangerous precedent on this matter.

On February 12, 2002, the legal Adviser of UN concluded that Exploration Contracts signed by Morocco in the southern provinces coasts are not illegal (paragraph 25). He added that the Exploitation of natural resources is in line with international law if it is for the benefit of the population, on their behalf, or in consultation with their representatives.

The legal Adviser did not confirm claims that “any exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara is a violation of international law and the statute applicable to non-autonomous territories”.

Last December 2016, the European Court of Justice held that the Polisario Front does not have the legal legitimacy to represent the economic and commercial interests of the inhabitants of the Sahrawi territories.


Sahara Watch Organisation



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