by Haiba Abbas
The question of exploitation of the natural resources, its legality and who should be the beneficial, is a point in the agenda of the upcoming direct talk between the Sahrawi Government and Morocco under the auspice of the personal envoy of the Secretary General of United Nations, Mr. Christopher Ross. In time, as the international community is awaiting to see how this question of natural resources will be debated and solved, we get surprised by the American Kosmos Company in a statement released last Wednesday that it has decided to drill the first well of oil this year on the shore cost of Western Sahara, after the signing of the contract on December 19, 2013, involving the American Kosmos Oil and French Shell with Morocco.
The amazing in the revealed statement of these companies after the signing of the contract, is how both companies trying very hard to bypass the illegality of the contract, first by emphasizing that the population of the disputed territory will be the first beneficiary for such exploration, second, while Morocco from his side has committed to them that will insure to be the guaranty and will follow the international norms to defend the local population to be the beneficial of any discovery of Oil in the territory.
The try to miss-interpret of the legal adviser opinion of United Nations in 2002, which was expressed before the Security Council, after the release of the first license by Morocco on the issue of exploitation of the natural resources, the view then put by the legal department stipulates that any exploitation of the resources of the territory should be based on the consensus of the population of the territory and preserve their interest, if not it will be according to the international law as plundering, shows the degree of greed and carelessness towards the interests of people of Western Sahara and is a baseless justification of the action taken.
Therefore, Kosmos and Shell cannot have a blind eye on the nature of the dispute which is according to the resolutions adopted by United Nations and the African Union on the question of Western Sahara, that Morocco is only the administrator power after its illegal occupation to the territory when the former colonizer Spain did not fulfil its obligation to put an end to the decolonization process as was requested by the international community then. Morocco -who is the occupied administrator of Western Sahara, which is still considered by the United Nations as a non-governance territory due to the dispute on the sovereignty between Morocco and the Sahrawi Republic- is not qualified to sign any contract related to the issue of natural resources on behalf of the people because of the nature of the dispute. On other hand, Kosmos and Shell have to bear in mind that there is more than 165000 people of this population are refugees and should be included as beneficial too and their consent should be put in consideration about any kind of exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara.
The implication of such action Kosmos and Shell will push the Sahrawi Government to take steps against any kind of plundering such as: first will file an accusation case before the International Court of Justice against the two companies of not complying with the International Law vis-à-vis the illegality of plundering resources of the Saharawi people without their consent. Second, to call on United Nations to implement with firm the opinion of its legal department and all resolutions related to the question of sovereignty of Morocco and to clarify that such action is not in conformity with the international community view, is aiming to impose this Status quo and legalizing the occupation, it will only jeopardize and complicate the whole process of searching for a peaceful solution to the conflict and avoid to be fueling the whole region to more instability and war.
My advice and consent for Kosmos and Shell, in order to be in conformity with International Law and not be guilty of expending the suffer of the people of Western Sahara, for peace seek and the efforts so far invested by the international community and backing the efforts of Mr. Christopher Ross, to find a lasting solution to the conflict, is that they should get rid of the shameful contract, and wait till that the people of Western Sahara will be granted the right to decide on the final status of the Territory through holding the referendum to self-determination, they have to believe that Saharawi people have already chosen their State, the Sahrawi Republic, which will nationalize all facilities used for plundering the natural resources, a last and not least they have to follow the wise decision of European Banks which sustained from financing any project of solar energy located in Western Sahara.
Haiba Abbas, F. Polisario representative to India
Este texto expresa la opinion del autor y no de los moderadores del foro.