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Egyptian Sahara vs. Western Sahara : When Algeria ignores geography

On Sunday, the official Algerian news agency published an article on the Sahara… located in Egypt, believing that the case was linked to Western Sahara.

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On Sunday, the Algerie Presse Service (APS) news agency published an article in which it denounced «two Egyptian companies planning to invest in Western Sahara» and accusing them of violating international law. The article, which was deleted from the Arabic-speaking and French-speaking versions, targets Morocco without paying attention to the fact that said companies are planning to invest in the western part of the Egyptian Sahara.

APS claims that the two Egyptian companies active in the field of oil production, Khalda Petroleum Co. and Qarun Petroleum, «intend to invest more than one billion dollars in the field of oil exploration in Western Sahara», adding that it is a «flagrant violation of international law». The news agency explains that «the Egyptian company Khaleda Petroleum is to drill 35 exploration wells and 52 other exploitation wells between 2021 and 2022 in Western Sahara, for a total cost of 830 million dollars, as indicated by its chairman, Saeed Abdel Moneim». 

The same representative, quoted by the agency, explained that the company intends to produce 130,000 barrels of crude oil and liquids as well as 630 million cubes of natural gas.

For its part, the company Qarun Petroleum «would invest 252 million dollars in the region by drilling 24 operating wells and 5 exploration wells between 2021 and 2022», all in Western Sahara according to APS.

A series of blunders and fake news

Ignoring geography, the agency justified the «illegality» of these investments by citing the opinion of the «International Court of Justice», which «considers Western Sahara as a territory independent from Morocco». «This means that no foreign company can invest in Saharan lands», it argued. In this sense, it affirmed that «the illegal export from Morocco during the year 2020 amounted to 1.1 million tons of phosphates from Western Sahara, with a value of 170.8 million dollars». After realizing its mistake, the agency removed its two dispatches.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that APS publishes «fake news» on Morocco, such as in February, arguing that the African Union has approved a resolution authorizing the use of military force against Morocco. 

In October, the same agency swore that Morocco would have obtained «a vote» when renewing members of the United Nations Human Rights Council. At the end of February, APS even inadvertently recognized the Moroccan character of the Sahara, by publishing an article entitled: «The American administration renews its support for the international process of resolving the conflict in the Moroccan Sahara».

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