The President of the Moroccan House of Representatives, Abdelouahed Radi, stated that the provisional voter's list "did not represent reality" and demanded that the United Nations "render justice to our brothers in the Saharan provinces" during the next phase of appeals. The National Democratic Party (PND) called on all those who did not appear on the provisional list to present their appeals. He stated that the "percentage (of the population) retained by the Identification Commission was far from representing reality and ignores Sahrawi rights." The published results constitute a "violation of the identification procedures, as well as the Commission's impartiality and objectivity."
The Secretary-General of the Istiqlal Party (governmental), Abbas El Fassi, stated that MINURSO "is attempting, in collusion with the separatists [the Polisario Front], to deprive the majority of Sahrawis of their legitimate right to participate in the referendum." El Fassi stated that the referendum "cannot take place if even a single Sahrawi is excluded from the process or deprived of his legitimate right."
The Sahrawi ambassador to Addis Ababa, Fadel Ismaïl, was received by the Secretary-General of the OAU, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, and presented his credentials as permanent representative of the Sahrawi Republic to the OAU.
During its month chairing the Security Council, the United States organized meetings devoted to problems specific to Africa. The Sahrawi President took this opportunity to write a letter to the Chair of the Council, Richard Holbrooke, in which Mohamed Abdelaziz reminded the Council of the situation in the Western Sahara and stated that the identification process had been completed and there was no reason to further delay the vote. (SPS)
The Sahrawi President arrived in Naples on January 21, where he attended a solidarity meeting after having met with the Mayor of Naples and the Vice-President of the Provincial Council. Mohamed Abdelaziz also met with Walter Veltroni, Secretary-General of the left Democrats. In the area of identification, Abdelaziz stated that "Morocco seems to be unprepared by the assertion of a reality long recognized by everyone else, but that it has long sought to deny." The Sahrawi President also stated that the "development of stable economic relations between the Maghreb and Europe could not take place at the expense of a conflict that is at the root of political tension and instability." (SPS).
In a resolution adopted by its Congress (Torino 13-16.01.00) the Italian party of "Democratici di Sinistra" exprimed its preoccupation about the repeated delay of the referendum, due essentially to the intransigent position of the Moroccan governement, as well as about the last SG report and Security Council resolution considering a two years deadline " at least " for the organization of the referendum. The Congress requests the Security Council not to accept other Moroccan delaying tactics and to equip the MINURSO of the necessary means enabling it to respect the time limits. It denounces the dilatory interpretation by Morocco of the signed agreements on the appeals and invites the Italian government and the EU to put pressures on this country, so that the referendum takes place at the time envisaged.
Reacting to statements by the Moroccan Minister of the Interior (see Week 03) on the Moroccan desire to create a customized electoral body, the Sahrawi Minister of Information stated in a press release that such statements were "insidious" and "demonstrate that the Moroccan government will not accept any referendum result that does not confirm its colonial attitude," because it knows "it's on the losing side." He added that the Sahrawi people will never accept this kind of pre-determined outcome. (SPS)
According to an eyewitness account, dozens of Sahrawi women assembled outside Smara's provincial administrative buildings to demand their rights. They were supported by Smara high school students and Sahrawi students in Morocco, who gave them material support. There is no sign of the movement dwindling in the future.
El Midaoui, Moroccan Minister of the Interior, went to Algiers for the 17th session of the Arab Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior.
Early Day Motion
Eighty-seven parliamentarians signed a motion stating their deep concern for the possibility of a postponement of the referendum following the appeals submitted by Morocco, and called on the British government to take measures to ensure that the parties in the conflict strictly abide by the Houston Agreements and the appeals protocols.
14.01.00, Maracena, Grenada, Spain: Unanimous adoption by the Municipal Council of Maracena on December 9, 1999, of a motion condemning the Moroccan manoeuvres designed to delay the referendum process in the Western Sahara, and demanding that the Spanish government and the Andalucian authorities put pressure on Morocco. The municipality finally decided to support the Sahrawi cause by financing a development project.
25.01.00, Santander, Cantabrica: Roundtable on the "The Sahara Question Today," organized by the Faculty of Law and the Cantabrica Youth Council. The dean lead the discussions, attended among others by a Sahrawi youth representative, professor of international public law.
UJSARIO, the Sahrawi youth organization, opened an office for Central and Northern Europe. Moulay Bachir ould Didi is responsible for Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Eastern European countries and Scandinavia. He can be contacted a: e-mail: email@example.com
USA, Washington DC:16-20.02.00, National Summit on Africa.
Rabat, 08.02.00: The Association of Moroccan Sahara will be holding a protest march against the "low proportion of voters retained from among the three contested tribes." It will depart from Mausolée Mohammed V and end up at the UN headquarters... (Ach-Chark al-Awsat, London).
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