OSLO – The air agreement between Norway and Morocco "can not be applied" in Western Sahara, said Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide.
"Bilateral aviation agreement between Norway and Morocco does not apply to Western Sahara", occupied by Morocco, the Foreign Minister recently told the Norwegian Parliament in response to a question by Theodor Barndon Helland of the Progress Party
There are several problematic aspects concerning the air transport routes established by Morocco from the part of the non-self-governing territory that is occupied (Western Sahara). In recent years, Morocco has been organizing routes to the city of Dakhla (part of Western Sahara occupied by Morocco), from which frozen fish is also exported illegally by air to Spain.
On 25 September 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) informed the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) that Morocco had requested the registration of a bilateral agreement signed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Norway and Morocco on 14 November 1997 with ICAO, an aviation agreement with registration number 5979.
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara does not know if such an agreement exists. This is probably an "innocent mistake" in the ICAO letter, referring to the agreement signed on November 14, 1979 (here in the ICAO database).
In this context, the Tribunal of the European Union (EU), seized by the Polisario Front, ruled last November 30 that the agreement on civil aviation concluded in January 2018 between the EU and Morocco "does not apply to Western Sahara".
The decision of the EU Court was "widely welcomed" by the Polisario Front.
In addition, Article 5 of the EU-Morocco Aviation Agreement governs Norway's relations with EU-Morocco aviation under the Economic Space Agreement which Norway is a contracting party.
Furthermore, the head of Norwegian diplomacy explained that "Article 2 of the Agreement on Air Transport between Norway and Morocco of 14 November 1977 authorizes the parties to overfly and land on the territory of the other part. "
And Article 1 of the agreement, the Minister continues, establishes that the term "territory" is defined as described in the Convention on International Civil Aviation of December 7, 1944 (Chicago Convention), of which Article 2 contains the following definition: "For the purposes of this Convention, the territory of a State includes land and territorial waters adjacent thereto under the sovereignty, protection or mandate of that State" .
"Moroccan territory must be considered as referring to the territory over which Morocco exercises sovereignty under international law, and other territories, such as Western Sahara, are excluded from this scope", recalls Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide.