terça-feira, 20 de outubro de 2009


19th of October, 2009

Response of the WSRW to the declaration of Felipe González regarding
Western Sahara and Morocco

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), an independent, non-governmental
organization, denounces the recent statements concerning Western Sahara made
by Mr. Felipe González and respectfully calls for his dismissal as President of the
European Union’s “Council of the Wise”.

The remarks of Mr. González, a former Spanish prime minister, were made in a
September 28 debate organized by Caixaforum. His statements have been
distributed as a video on the internet and have been echoed in several electronic

The former Spanish prime minister made several entirely incorrect statements,
including: (i) “there is no exploitation of natural resources [in Western Sahara]
because there is no economic activity [in the territory]”, (ii) that Western Sahara
was part of Morocco and therefore tied to the Moroccan sultanate through “special
rights”, (iii) and that Morocco is “the most libertarian country in the Arab world”.

Even though these assertions by Mr. González are already scandalous in
themselves, they are especially serious in being made by someone who was the
prime minister of Spain for 14 years, during a time when Spain continued to refuse
its legally required role as the administering post-colonial state responsible for
occupied Western Sahara. Such manifestly incorrect comments are regrettable
coming from a person assuming the presidency of the European Council’s
“Reflection Group on the Future of Europe”.

The ongoing economic activities in illegally occupied Western Sahara, more
specifically phosphate exploitation and fisheries, are a well documented fact. This
exploitation can only be denied because of a profound cynicism or complicity.
Moreover, the European Union, which has nominated Felipe González as chairman
of the aforementioned “Reflection Group”, has recognized its involvement in
exploiting the fish stocks of Western Sahara within the framework of the EUMorocco
Fisheries Agreement.

WSRW respectfully notes the following:

1°. The United Nations have established, in dozens of Resolutions, that Western
Sahara is a Non-Self-Governing Territory which is required to undergo a legitimate
exercise of its people’s right to self determination.

2°. The International Court of Justice has established that Morocco has never
exercised nor sovereignty nor any other type of territorial right over Western
Sahara.Sahara. As such, Morocco’s continuing occupation of the territory is illegal, and
may be considered both a war crime and a crime against humanity.

3°. The United Nations have also established that Member States are to adopt the
necessary means to ensure that their nationals and companies under their
jurisdiction put an end to the economic activities they undertake in colonial
territories to the benefit or in name of the colonial powers and their allies.
Article 21 of the European Union Treaty stipulates that the European Union’s
actions ought to be based on and in accordance with “the principles of the United
Nations Charter and international law”.

In the light of the present matter, the recent statements of Felipe González render
him unsuitable to hold a responsible position within the European Union.

In the result, WSRW condemns the declarations by Felipe González and demands
the European Union’s authorities to immediately and unambiguously:

1°. Repudiate the statements of Felipe González concerning the Western Sahara;


2°. Invite Felipe González to leave his current position, given the loss of public
confidence in his integrity.

WSRW is an international non-governmental organization with members from
more than 30 countries that defends the respect for international law upholding
the decolonization of Western Sahara and the sovereignty of the Saharawi people
over their natural resources. For questions, contact:

Catherine Lewis, International Coordinator, Western Sahara Resource Watch
+61 407 288 358

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