Western Sahara not part of Norway-Morocco aviation agreement
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Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs clarifies that the aviation agreement between Norway and Morocco cannot be applied to Western Sahara.
Published 30 December 2018


The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, clarified to the Norwegian Parliament on 21 December that the bilateral aviation agreement between Norway and Morocco does not apply to the territory of Western Sahara.

The answer came after a question from Theodor Barndon Helland (Progress Party).

There are several problematic aspects regarding air transportation routes set up by Morocco from the part of the non-self governing territory that is under occupation. Morocco has the last years built a tourist sector in Dakhla, from where also frozen fish are exported by air to Spain.

25 September 2018 the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway was informed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that Morocco had filed for registration a bilateral agreement signed by Norway and Morocco on 14 November 1997 to ICAO an aviation agreement, with registration number 5979. It is not known to the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Shara whether such agreement exist. Most probably, it is an innocent typo in ICAO's letter, referring to the agreement signed on 14 November 1979 (here in ICAO's database).

30 November 2018 the Court of Justice of the EU clarified that the EU-Moroco aviation agreement cannot be applied to Western Sahara.

Annex 5 of the EU-Morocco aviation agreement furthermore regulates Norway's relation to the EU-Morocco aviation via the Agreement on the European Economic Area to which Norway is a contracting party.

The following was stated by Minister Søreide (our translation):

"Article 2 of the aviation agreement between Norway and Morocco of 14 November 1977 allows the parties to fly over and land on the other party's territory. Article 1 of the agreement establishes that the expression "territory" shall be defined as the meaning described in the ​Convention on International Civil Aviation of 7 December 1944 (the Chicago Convention). The latter's article 2 contains the following definition:

'For the purposes of this Convention the territory of a State shall be deemed to be the land areas and territorial waters adjacent thereto under the sovereignty, suzerainty, protection or mandate of such State.'

Morocco's territory must be viewed as referring to the territory over which Morocco exercises sovereignty under international law. Other territories, such as Western Sahara, thus falls outside of this scope."



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