WSCUK Responds to President Trump's Dangerous Announcement
President Trump’s recognition of Moroccan claims to sovereignty over Western Sahara is regrettable for its insult to the Saharawi people, for the damage it does to the international standing of the US, and the dangerous precedent it sets.
It changes nothing in respect of international law. The status of the Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory whose indigenous inhabitants have the right to self-determination is assured by the rulings of the International Court of Justice and the United Nations. The UN has already made clear that its position on Western Sahara is unaffected by this last gasp act of transactional ‘diplomacy’ by the outgoing Trump administration.
By setting the US at odds with international law, President Trump has – temporarily at least – ensured that Washington will have less influence on attempts to settle the conflict. By taking an overtly partisan position, the US has debarred itself from any credible role in the ‘group of friends’ which advises the Security Council on policy towards the Western Sahara. And it has done so at a moment of crisis, one month after the resumption of hostilities triggered by the Moroccan military incursion into a demilitarised zone between the occupied portion of the Western Sahara and Mauritania. That incursion has not only prompted a response by Saharawi armed forces but has further destabilised the whole of the Sahara and Sahel.
We trust that the incoming US administration will urgently reverse President Trump’s move and seek to act as an honest broker in the conflict.
US companies should beware of taking this injudicious action in the dying days of the Trump administration as a green light to take part in the plunder of Saharawi resources. Any such action will be met with rejection by the Saharawi people and may well encounter legal challenges.
The UN and the EU have already stated unequivocally that they support resolution of the Western Sahara conflict through international law. The Western Sahara Campaign calls on the UK government to reaffirm its commitment to a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people, the promise on which the 1991 ceasefire was predicated. And, given the gravity of the current situation in Western Sahara, we call on the UK government to redouble efforts within the ‘group of friends’ to advance the holding of a referendum.
WESTERN SAHARA CAMPAIGN UK
The Western Sahara Campaign works in solidarity with the Saharawi people to generate political support in order to advance their right to self-determination and to promote their human rights.
Our role is to lobby the UK Government and the EU. You can help us to ensure the UK does not ignore the voice of the Saharawi people.
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