Following discussions with international companies, and a successful offshore licensing initiative, the Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), formally announces the commencement of an onshore licensing initiative to enable international oil and gas companies to participate in the exploration of its onshore sovereign territory.

The SADR is a full member of the African Union and is the sovereign authority for the territory referred to as Western Sahara. The Polisario Front is internationally recognised as the representative of the Saharawi people.

This initiative has been undertaken in preparation for full recovery of all Saharawi territory, under the UN decolonisation process and mediation between SADR and Morocco. Previous exploration of the onshore Aaiun and Tindouf basins is largely limited to activity during the 1960s during colonial occupation.

Participation in onshore licensing is open to all competent and qualified companies, and has been arranged in accordance with UN legal opinion regarding commercial activities in Western Sahara.

17 January 2006