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Western Sahara: Human Rights

Volume 481: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the issue of human rights abuses in Western Sahara is raised during the ongoing negotiations to grant Morocco advanced status with the European Union. (225112)

The UK welcomes closer co-operation between the EU and Morocco, including the proposal for an Advanced Status Agreement currently under discussion between EU member states, the Commission and Morocco. The issue of Western Sahara, while not discussed within the context of the advanced status, remains part of the political dialogue between the EU and Morocco. We expect that both Western Sahara and human rights will be discussed as part of the political dialogue at the next EU-Morocco Association Council on 13 October.

The UK continues to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute in Western Sahara providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, is best achieved under the auspices of the UN. To this end and in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1813 of 30 April, the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his staff, and the negotiation process currently under way. We hope a further round of talks will take place later this year.