ECJ Does not Challenge Morocco’s Legitimacy to Sign Deals Covering Sahara- FM says

Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita made it clear that the verdict delivered by the European Court of Justice on the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement does not challenge the Kindgom’s political legitimacy to sign with the EU agreements covering the Sahara.

In an interview with news portal Le360.ma, Bourita explained that the ECJ did not follow the opinion of its adviser, Melchior Wathelet, who claimed that the fisheries deal was invalid on grounds that it included the Sahara.

“The ECJ abstained from endorsing the conclusions of its adviser,” he said, noting that the verdict did not challenge the validity of the deal.

In this regard, the agreement will last until its expiry date: July 15, to be followed by a protocol agreement in line with the decision of the European Council and the European Commission to renew the fisheries deal.

Bourita stressed that the ECJ verdict does not bring into question the legitimacy of Morocco to negotiate agreements with the EU covering the Sahara, noting that the EU court only specifies that the Sahara should be simply mentioned in future deals.

The Moroccan minister added that the Polisario and its mentor Algeria pinned false hopes to see the status of the phony SADR republic recognized in the court’s decision.

In fact, he said, the ECJ echoing its 2016 decision on the Agricultural agreements did not mention the imaginary entity whose leaders seek desperately to be recognized as “exclusive representatives” of Sahrawis.

The ECJ verdict had neither spoken of the Polisario as a representative of the Sahrawi people nor recognized the Algerian-backed SADR, the minister went on to say.

Today, Morocco and the EU, once again, reaffirmed in a joint statement their attachment to renew the fisheries deal, underscoring that both parties will endeavor to bolster their partnership, he said.

“The European Union and Morocco have expressed, on Tuesday February 27, their determination to continue, preserve and reinforce their strategic partnership,” the statement said, adding that the two parties will “maintain fisheries cooperation”.

Bourita concluded the interview reiterating that the Sahara is an indivisible part of the Kingdom’s territory.

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