Moroccan security forces 1 and 4 Jan forcefully dispersed Sahrawi protestors in al-Ayun who claimed right of Sahrawi people to self-determination and condemned “plundering” of natural resources. Polisario Front independence movement 21 Jan filed complaint with European Commission and French customs to denounce shipment of fish oil from Western Sahara by Gibraltar-flagged tanker on grounds that it violated European Court of Justice 21 Dec ruling, arguing Morocco has no right to issue export licences from territory which court said cannot be treated as part of Morocco under trade agreements.
The Western Sahara conflict is both one of the world’s oldest and one of its most neglected.
The combination of Morocco’s recent proposal of a “Sahara autonomous region”, the Polisario Front’s counter-proposal of independence with guarantees for Moroccan interests and the UN Security Council’s 30 April resolution calling for direct negotiations between the parties – due to begin on 18 June – has been hailed as a promising breakthrough in the protracted Western Sahara dispute.
Originally published in Al Hayat
Originally published in The Wall Street Journal Europe