The Left in the European Parliament firmly rejects the Trump administration’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over occupied Western Sahara as a bargaining chip for the normalization of ties with Israel. 

This provocative act that violates international law follows other similarly grotesque US unilateral moves such as the recognition of Israel’s illegal annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and of West Bank settlements. The incoming Biden administration must reverse these lawless moves and return the US to multilateralism and a rules-based order. 

Western Sahara, as recognised by the UN, is a Non-Self-Governing Territory that awaits de-colonisation, and therefore it cannot be considered as part of Morocco. The European Court of Justice has reaffirmed in its rulings that Morocco and Western Sahara are two distinct territories.

Since 1991, the Sahrawi people have been waiting for a referendum on self-determination, as promised by the international community upon the creation of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) However, Morocco and actors coveting for Western Sahara’s abundant resources have blocked its realisation. 

Trump’s last-ditch normalisation offensive, which saw Israel sign agreements with three other Arab countries, is fuelling Israel’s impunity to continue denying self-determination and statehood to the Palestinian people and has served to pro-up the repressive regimes of the region with multi-billion dollars arms deals. 

The chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Palestine (DPAL), Manu Pineda (Izquierda Unida, Spain), commented: 

“It is paradoxic that this decision, which contributes to the weakening of human rights of the Sahrawi and Palestinian people, comes on Human Rights Day. It consolidates the control private companies have over the resources of the Sahrawi people and is another attack against the right to statehood of both Sahrawis and Palestinians. 

Pineda, who is also The Left’s co-coordinator in the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), added: 

“The recent statements issued by Neighbourhood Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi and the EU’s External Action Service on Morocco’s aggression in Guerguerat show that they care more about the economic interests of multinationals in the region than about international law and human rights. This position must be reversed and the EU must play an active role in defending Sahrawi self-determination.”

MEP Idoia Villanueva (Podemos, Spain), co-coordinator in the AFET Committee, said: 

“In exchange for the normalisation of relations with Israel, Trump is violating international law by recognising Western Sahara as part of Morocco. In January he will no longer be President. 

“The international community must abandon its ambiguity and send a clear message of absolute condemnation of this declaration. We demand compliance with the UN resolutions, an immediate referendum for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people and an end to Israel’s occupation, blockade and apartheid in Palestine. We don’t need good intentions, we need action,” Villanueva concluded.

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