Western Sahara. At the beginning of the year, the
European Parliament approved a fisheries and agriculture
agreement with Morocco, which, according to media, also
included products from Western Sahara. The decision was
condemned by the Western Saharan independence movement
Polisario, which pushed the issue in the European Court of
Justice. In 2017, the Court ruled that Morocco's trade
agreement with the EU was not valid because Western Sahara
was not part of Morocco. According to the media, the new
agreements contained special supplements which meant that
products from Western Sahara could still be included.
The UN stated in a statement in March that its envoy in
Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, invited Polisario, Morocco,
Algeria and Mauritania for a call in Switzerland that month.
According to the opinion, the meeting was a step in the
political process between the countries in order to reach a
fair and mutually sustainable political solution. According
to media, Morocco has offered Western Sahara autonomy, but
Polisario has rejected the offer and instead wants a
referendum on independence for Western Sahara.
In April, the UN Security Council extended the
peacekeeping force MINURSO's mandate by six months.
UN envoy Horst Köhler resigned in May after almost two
years. The dismissal was criticized by Polisario who had set
his hope for Köhler. According to Polisario's representative
in Sweden, Köhler had worked actively to find solutions to
the deadlock that had long prevailed in the UN Security
In October, MINURSO's mandate was extended by one year to
31 October 2020.
In December, the UN had not yet appointed a new envoy in
Western Sahara since Köhler resigned for health reasons.
However, the reason for his departure was questioned,
including by representatives from Polisario.