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The European Union Approach Towards Western Sahara


Edited By Marco Balboni and Giuliana Laschi

In the framework of the so-called Barcelona process, the European Union concluded several bilateral agreements with Morocco aimed to deepen their economic integration. The 2000 Association agreement European Union–Morocco is the general legal framework for the development of relationships among the two parties. In this context, the recent Agreement on reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products and fishery products, entered in force in 2012, and the Fisheries Partnership Agreement, issued in 2013, were established. They reiterate and update former agreements. No one of them expressly excludes the territory of Western Sahara from the scope of application, in contrast with other similar agreements negotiated with other countries, such as the Free trade pact between Morocco and the United States of America. The non-exclusion of the territory of Western Sahara raises several concerns on the compliance of these agreements with International Law, not only in relation to the principle of self-determination of peoples but also with the principle of sovereignty of natural resources, the prohibition of exploitation of resources of a territory under occupation, the obligation to not recognise situations arisen in an illegal way, the prohibition to negotiate agreement with an occupying country once the process of decolonisation has begun.

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The Principle of Sovereignty of Natural Resources and its Consequences (Hans Corell)


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The Principle of Sovereignty of Natural Resources and its Consequences


Former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations


I am speaking in my personal capacity. I have retired from public service. I am a senior citizen and therefore I am free to speak my mind as I do now.

On the 8th of December 1962, I started working as a law clerk in a court in my country – 52 years ago. And when I look at you I realize that I was maybe the same age as you are now. So I hope that what I am going to say now – among you, you will listen carefully and maybe carry with you some of the advices that I am going to include in my presentation.

I am also speaking as a neutral. What I mean by that is something I was taught in the courts. Ten years I served in the courts before I came to the Ministry of Justice for 13 years. And then I served in the Foreign Office as Ambassador and Head of the Legal Department for 9 years. And then I came to the United Nations where I was the Chief Legal Officer in the organization for 10 years, 3 years with Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and 7 years with Kofi Annan.

Also, when I talk about neutrality, I am referring to the...

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