Western Sahara: Natural Resources

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 3rd December 2009.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 14 July 2009, Official Report, column 336W, on Western Sahara: natural resources, what account he has taken in the formulation of his policy of the statement by the former legal counsel to the United Nations on (a) the legality of exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara and (b) the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

When considering their policy on the extraction of resources in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the Government took into account the opinion set out by the UN Legal Counsel, then Hans Correll, in his letter to the President of the Security Council of 29 January 2002.

On this basis, the UK's position remains that Morocco, as the de facto administering power of Western Sahara, is obliged under international law to ensure that economic activities under administration-including the extraction and exportation of natural resources-do not adversely affect the interests of the people in Western Sahara.

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