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EU trade deal with Morocco does not cover Western Sahara - ECJ

The European Court of Justice ruled that a recently signed trade deal with Morocco would not cover Western Sahara, in a ruling that has been hailed by pro-independence activists.
The court ruling, related to two trade deals from 2000 and 2012, said that for the purposes of the trade agreement the term "territory of the Kingdom of Morocco" did not include Western Sahara.
"It does not appear that this people has consented to the agreement being applied to Western Sahara," the court said.
The Polisario Front claimed the ruling as a victory, with their representative to Europe, Mohamed Sidati, calling on the EU to "immediately cease all agreements, funding and projects reinforcing Morocco's illegal occupation of Western Sahara".
"The ruling confirms the long-established legal status of Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory," he added.
Morocco however also welcomed the ruling, which allows the trade deals to go ahead after they were barred in 2015, with the foreign ministry stating that the "legality and legitimacy of Morocco's international deals" had not been questioned.
"It's an important change," said Nasser Bourita, Moroccan minister delegate for foreign affairs and cooperation, on the trade deals. "We consider that the accord remains in force as it is."
He went on to add that "the Sahara's future will not be decided by a judge in a court. It will be decided in an appropriate setting, in the framework of the United Nations".