Sahara: Uruguayan justice gives serious doubts to the Polisario

The Polisario leaders have started doubting the effectiveness of their strategy seeking to harass ships carrying Moroccan phosphate. Their doubts are increasing, especially after the new setback they suffered when Uruguayan justice declined to seize a cargo loaded with 300 tons of Moroccan phosphate.

According to well-informed sources in Tindouf, the decision of the Uruguayan court was all the more shocking for the Polisario leaders as it emanated from the justice of a country that traditionally supports the Algeria-backed separatists’ claims on Western Sahara.

Yet, it is not the first decision of its kind that dealt a blow to the separatist front. Last June, a Panamanian court had also rejected the Polisario’s request to seize a ship carrying phosphate from the Phosboucraa mine in the Sahara. The cargo was destined for OCP customers in Vancouver, in Canada.

The Panamanian court ruled that as a national court, it is not competent to rule on a matter of international politics, and that there was no evidence that the cargo belonged to the applicants, the Polisario in this case.

The rejection by the justice of Uruguay and Panama of the Polisario’s request induced another result, that of embarrassing the authorities of South Africa, which have been seizing a ship carrying Moroccan phosphate since last May.

On 15 June, a South African court referred the judgment pending a decision on the merits of the case, but it is clear that this decision was dictated by political considerations, the South African government being known for its unconditional support for the Polisario and its hostility towards Morocco in the Sahara issue.

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