Western Sahara 2019
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 Council.
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.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Western Sahara in 2019 was 582,352, ranking number 170 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.650% yearly, and the population density was 2.1897 people per km2.