July 22, 2004
Pitts lauds protection of Sahrawis in Morocco trade pact
Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) today supported legislation to implement the
U.S.–Morocco Free Trade Agreement. He
did so only after making clear that the agreement does not apply to goods
and services which originate in Western Sahara, a country which Morocco has
illegally occupied portions of since 1975.
a free trader,” said Congressman Pitts, “because I believe trade creates
jobs here and economic growth abroad. However,
I could not have supported this agreement without the efforts of the
Administration and Chairman Thomas to protect the people of the Western
Sahara. Once in place, this
agreement will benefit the people of Morocco and will create jobs here.
However, it’s the government of Morocco I’m concerned about.
For three decades it has defied international law, obstructed
international agreements, and denied the people of Western Sahara, a vote to
determine their own future.”
a letter to Congressman Pitts, Robert Zoellick, the United States Trade
Administration’s position on Western Sahara is clear: sovereignty of
Western Sahara is in dispute, and the United States fully supports the
United Nations; efforts to resolve this issue.
The United States and many other countries do not recognize Moroccan
sovereignty over Western Sahara and have consistently urged the parties to
work with the United Nations to resolve the conflict by peaceful means.”
this agreement and Administration’s commitment to freedom in Western
Sahara makes clear that we should keep our word to the Sahrawis and give
them a vote. While trade is
good, freedom for the Sahrawis is better.
The government of Morocco needs to give them a vote,” said
entire text of Ambassador Zoellick’s letter is available by clicking here.
background information on Western Sahara is available by clicking here.
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