THE BALTICS AND THE SAHARA

  • 2009-02-11
The nation of Western Sahara was occupied by Morocco in 1975 after an agreement with the fascist dictatorship Spain, the colonial power. Morocco has been condemned by the U.N. in several declarations since then and the International Court in the Hague has declared Western Sahara´s right to self determination.
…According to the U.N. Western Sahara is the last colony in Africa. No state recognizes Morocco's right o the territory. The indigenous people of Western Sahara has since 1975 been terrorized by Morocco on a daily basis and Moroccans have been moved into the country in the purpose to make the native population a minority.

The Baltic states have supported this occupation, at least indirectly, as a member of the EU. They have had no objections to the billion EU aid for Morocco and they voted yes to the fishery agreement between EU and Morocco in 2007, which includes occupied Western Sahara territories. They have been loyal to France, a former colonial power still not able to forget its imperial past. France has stopped all efforts in U.N. and EU to solve the problem by peaceful means and backed Morocco's illegal policy. Morocco has violated all rules of international law.

EU states also export weapons to Morocco. This EU attitude is in the long run a threat to the sovereignty of all small states and very similar to the world's attitude towards the Baltic states during the Soviet occupation except that arms export to Soviet was banned.

The Baltic peoples fought an armed struggle against the Soviet forces in the hope of future help from the West. They were deceived for almost 50 years in the same way as the Saharawis are betrayed today by EU.
In both cases international law is a victim, which in the long run is a huge problem for small nations like the Baltic and Nordic states. Who will stand up for international law if we do not? Sooner or late there will be a backlash hitting ourselves.

The former prime minister of Estonia, Mart Laar, has in some booklets on Estonia under Soviet occupation declared that the old attitude of the "Forest Brothers" of never giving up the fight for independence did inspire  the Baltic peoples to continue the struggle and save their souls, which eventually led up to the liberation in 1991.

The same goes for the people of Western Sahara, who still are hoping for the solidarity of for instance the Estonian government. The Estonian government's acceptance of the EU fishery agreement with Morocco was, of course, a betrayal not only of the Saharawi struggle but also of international law and the struggle of the "Forest Brothers."

If the Baltic states want to live up to the old spirit of the resistance in the 1940s and 1950s and be credible in their support of international law, they have to support the liberation of Western Sahara. This could be done in a peaceful way by abandoning the support for EU aid to Morocco, recognize Western Sahara as an independent state and also say no to the  EU plans to give Morocco an advanced status in EU.

It is well understood that Africa is not a priority for the Baltic states, but international law must be.

Ingvar Flink
Uppsala, Sweden

 

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