First Published: 2018-04-17

EU to start talks with Morocco on new fishing deal inclusive of Western Sahara
European block’s agreement to start talks with Rabat to renew fishing deal that includes disputed territory deals new blow to Polisario Front.
Middle East Online

A new diplomatic victory

BRUSSELS - Member states of the European Union agreed on Monday to start negotiations with Morocco to renew a fishing deal that includes the disputed Western Sahara in a new blow to the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.

The Council of Ministers of the 28 EU member states, the European Union's highest governing body, authorized on Monday the European Commission to enter into negotiations with Morocco to sign a new EU-Morocco maritime fishing deal covering Western Sahara.

This authorisation, which was adopted without any objections from the member states, gives the official launch of the negotiations, which the EU executive body will start with the Morocco in the next few days, to conclude a new agreement as the current deal ends July 14.

This mandate confirms not only the continuation of the partnership between Morocco and the EU in the fishing sector, but also an additional guarantee of the legal security of the agreements linking the Kingdom with the European block.

It is also a new diplomatic victory for Morocco almost two months after the European Court of Justice said the fisheries agreement concluded between the EU and Morocco "is valid in so far as it is not applicable to Western Sahara and to its adjacent waters."

The Polisario Front filed the legal appeals against both the farm and fisheries deals that led to the two cases coming before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of the kingdom. Algerian-backed Polisario Front separatists began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.

Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.


Russia mulls supplying S-300 missile systems to Syria

Morocco, EU start talks on new fisheries deal

Bashir fires Sudan foreign minister

US has 'concerns' about Turkey holding fair vote under state of emergency

Saudi women embrace sports headscarves

Rouhani slams officials' 'vow of silence' in face of protests

Natalie Portman says backed out of Israel prize over Netanyahu

Rebels set to leave new area outside Damascus

FIFA to return to Morocco to check hotels, stadiums

Turkey in shock after violent Istanbul derby

Iraq pays first war reparations to Kuwait since 2014

Fiery kites adopted as new tactic by Gaza protesters

Romanian president slams plan to move Israel embassy

Western strikes on Syria bring no change whatsoever

Trump criticises OPEC for high oil prices

Syria says rebels south of capital surrender

Market has capacity to absorb higher oil prices: Saudi minister

Putin 'ready' for Trump summit

Saudi Arabia to host first public film screening

HRW criticises Lebanon for evicting Syria refugees

Saudi says intercepted ballistic missile from Yemen

Washington: Assad still has 'limited' chemical capability

European MPs urge US not to scrap Iran deal

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Two more pro-Kurdish MPs stripped of Turkey seats

Oil theft 'costing Libya over $750 million annually'

Turkey's snap polls: bold gambit or checkmate for Erdogan?

Iran arrests senior official over public concert

Bahrain sentences 24 to jail, strips citizenship

UN experts urge Iran to cancel Kurd's death sentence

Moderate quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Syria regime forces caught in surprise IS attack

Turkey sentences 18 to life for killing ‘hero’ coup soldier

Exxon faces setback in Iraq as oil and water mix

Libya to clamp down on fuel smuggling

Yemen to arrest colonel for overlooking African migrant rape

Erdogan sends Turkey to snap polls on June 24

Qatar joins Gulf military exercise in apparent compromise

Saudi-Russia oil alliance likely to undercut OPEC

UN in security talks with Syria on chemical probe

Riyadh says two al Qaeda militants killed in Yemen

Record of women candidates in Lebanon, but you can't tell from TV

Sudan protests to UN over Egypt voting in disputed area

Erdogan calls Turkey snap polls for June 24

Rights watchdog say African migrants face rape, torture in Yemen