Danish company stops salt imports from Western Sahara

IMG_3938Danish salt importer Dansk Vejsalt will not be importing de-icing salt from Africa’s last colony Western Sahara in the future, the company told Danish solidarity organisation Afrika Kontakt at a meeting on January 31.

“This is an important victory for the population of Western Sahara. It means that the occupation of the colony becomes a little less profitable. But it is also a victory for Afrika Kontakt, as we have continuously pressurized Dansk Vejsalt and their customers in Denmark,” says Jens Bruun Madsen from Afrikas Kontakt’s Western Sahara group.

Afrika Kontakt has been in contact with Dansk Vejsalt about the company’s import of de-icing salt from Western Sahara since 2013.

In 2014, four Danish municipalities decided to scrap a contract to buy de-icing salt from Western Sahara through Dansk Vejsalt after Afrika Kontakt had informed the municipalities that the salt was from Western Sahara and that the deal would be in violation of international law.

Other Danish municipalities choose to uphold similar deals, however, and supermarket chain Aldi continued to sell salt from Dansk Vejsalt in their supermarkets in Denmark.

No more trouble
The owner of Dansk Vejsalt, Stig Anthony said that the company has stopped the imports from Western Sahara “because we don’t want any more trouble in regard to our de-icing salt.”

Director of Dansk Vejsalt, Kim Løth, also informed Afrika Kontakt that the cooperation with Austin-based American company Crystal Mountain Sel Sahara had been terminated, according to Løth because Crystal Mountain Sel Sahara ships their salt from a habour in Western Sahara.

Dansk Vejsalt has previously bought their salt from the Crystal Mountain Sel Sahara, who mines salt from the Oum Dbaa mine just South of the Moroccan-Western Sahara border.

Dansk Vejsalt will be importing their salt from Tunesia in the future.

In violation of international law
This decision comes after the Court of Justice of the European Union gave a verdict in December that concluded that Africa’s last colony, Western Sahara, was not part of Morocco, and that two free trade agreements between the EU and Morocco therefore do not apply to Western Sahara.

Trade with products from Western Sahara is also in violation of international law, unless the indigenous people of that territory benefit and agree to the trade, something that the Saharawis of Western Sahara have not.

As the representative in Denmark of Western Sahara’s liberation movement Polisario (who the UN recognise as the legitimate representatives of the Saharawis), Abba Malainin has stated, “the Saharawis have never okayed the salt mining and selling of salt in Western Sahara”.

Western Sahara has been colonised by Morocco for 40 years, since the Spanish left the territory in 1975.

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