Morocco and EU discuss amending agriculture deal

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Morocco World News | 24 October 2017

Morocco and EU discuss amending agriculture deal

By Saad Eddine Lamzouwaq

Talks continue of amending a controversial European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision regarding Western Sahara, as Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita met in Brussels on Monday with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

An EU press release said that the two sides discussed the amendment of the Morocco-EU agriculture agreement, after the European Court of Justice ruled in December 2016 that is not applicable to goods from Western Sahara.

The two parties have since held several talks to come to an agreement to “preserve” their partnership, as they said in February when talks kicked off.

A meeting in February marked an attempt by Morocco and the EU to alleviate the tension that followed the European court’s ruling, which dealt a strong blow to the relations between the two parties. Soon after the decision, Morocco warned Brussels that cooperation between the two, especially in countering illegal immigration, would be undermined.

While Monday’s communiqué did not go beyond the usual diplomatic talk about discussing “common challenges” for Mediterranean and African countries, the meeting took place in a special context.

In late November, Ivory Coast will hold the fifth joint summit between the EU and the African Union (AU).

Morocco is campaigning to prevent the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) from taking part in the meeting, amid a push from Algeria and South Africa to include their ally on the pretext that it is a member of the AU, despite its absence from previous summits.

Algeria’s ambassador to Brussels, Amar Belani, had previously claimed that Polisario representatives will attend the conference, which sources from the EU, speaking to the Moroccan news site Le Desk, denied.

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