PAN Party questions Portuguese government on Western Sahara

The parliamentary group of the Portuguese Party PAN (People, Animals and Nature) questioned the Portuguese Government about the current situation in Western Sahara and the measures Portugal will undertake during its presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Subject: Current situation in the occupied territories of Western Sahara after the end of the cease-fire

Last November the situation in Western Sahara worsened with the end of the Ceasefire Agreement in the region that had been in force since 1991. In fact, the Kingdom of Morocco undertook a military intervention against Saharawi civilians in the buffer zone of El Guerguerat, on the international border to the south of Western Sahara, and then continued with a campaign of repression against the local population.

After having boycotted the political process aimed at holding a referendum that would sharpen the will of the Saharawi people to self-determination – which was the essence and main objective of the UN-OAU solution plan – the Kingdom of Morocco, faced with the passivity of the international community, is pursuing an agenda attacking human rights that must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Portugal, through the presidency of the European Council which office it assumed on January 1, 2021, can play a decisive role in resolving the conflict, especially when it is understood that the European Union maintains close bilateral ties with the Kingdom of Morocco as a result of trade and fishing agreements.

In the light of the above and under the applicable constitutional and regulatory provisions, the Parliamentary Group of the PAN hereby addresses to the Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following questions:

1. Admitting that the Government is following the situation in Western Sahara, as well as the recommendation of the United Nations that a delegate/observer stays in the territory, what is the Government doing to ensure compliance with international law.

2. Having recently assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union, does the Portuguese government intend to place the issue surrounding the conflict in Western Sahara on the European political agenda.

São Bento Palace, January 8, 2021

The Deputies,
André Silva
Bebiana Cunha
Inês de Sousa Real

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