RABAT, July 24 Morocco has agreed a new
four-year fisheries agreement with European Commission that will
allow 126 European ships to fish in the waters off Morocco and
Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by the North
African kingdom in 1975.
The agreement guarantees Morocco 40 million euros each year,
compared with 36 million under a previous deal that was rejected
by the European Parliament in 2011 because of questions over
whether the money would benefit the population of Western
This agreement could also be rejected by the European
Parliament. The sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara is
not recognised by the international community and some deputies
consider the pact to be against international law.
"I can't predict if the European Parliament would approve
this agreement or not, but this one respects the international
law and stipulates that Morocco respects the international law
and human rights," Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki told
reporters on Wednesday.
Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara prompted a rebellion
by the opposition Polisario Front. The United Nations brokered a
ceasefire in 1991, but talks have failed to find a settlement in
Africa's longest-running territorial dispute.
Morocco's parliament also has to approve the agreement but
it is likely to be a formality as the cash-strapped country is
seeking more resources to overcome an economic slowdown.
Under the deal, some 14 million euros would go towards
developing the fisheries sector, a Commission statement said.
(Reporting by Zakia Abdennebi, writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi)