With the upcoming debates on the Western Sahara to be held in February at the UN, the Sahrawi President wrote a letter to all African heads of State, asking them to "exercise their influence to save the Western Sahara peace plan and prevent the destruction and destabilization that will come to the region with the resumption of war." Mohamed Abdelaziz stated that "despite completion of the identification process, Morocco is trying once more to impose tens of thousands of appeals (.). This is a new and unacceptable move, designed to endlessly prolong the consultation." Given that the voter issue has been decided, "nothing justifies further delay of the referendum, or looking for alternatives." (Sahrawi Minister of Information)
Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya received Oumar Mansour, Sahrawi Minister of Health, and special envoy of the President of the SADR. The Sahrawi emissary, carrying a message regarding the latest developments in the Western Sahara peace process, kicked off his tour of African capitals in Nouakchott (SPS).
Twenty-six Sahrawi detainees, and some 30 family members assembled in front of the governorate in El Ayoun, began a 48-hour hunger strike to demand the detainees' freedom. The detainees were sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison for participating in demonstrations last September in El Ayoun.(SPS)
Moroccan Islamist leader Abd Assalam Yassine sent a long memorandum (french) to the King. In it he stated "A mortgaged Sahara is the legacy of a bygone reign and a policy of prestige disdainful of man. Our Sahrawi brothers are divided between two choices (.). Will they vote in the near future for a united Morocco that is truly Muslim, a rethought and reconstructed Morocco, or will they decide, on the basis of their past humiliation and the savage repression they were subject to so recently, to choose dignity and freedom under another banner? The millions that have been spent to build gleaming new cities on the desert sands have only served to impoverish Morocco and increase its debt. The conqueror's policy of prestige will have served to cement the division between two fractions of the same people."
The Parliament of Central America, PARLACEN, announced its support for a democratic, fair and transparent referendum for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people. It has called on Kofi Annan to rigorously implement the UN resolutions and Houston Agreements and to respect the referendum date slated for next July. All of PARLACEN's member countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Dominican Republic as observer) recognize the SADR. (EFE)
The Sahrawi Consultative Council, introduced by presidential decree, held its constitutive session in the wilaya of Smara. Made up of chioukh who worked as identification experts, it will meet once a year to help foster greater national unity and to advise the President on questions of national interest. In a statement, the chioukh unanimously rejected any other solution than that of a referendum, adding that "the wait has been long enough" and now is the time to "organize the referendum within the agreed upon timeframe."
Speaking before the members of the CCS, M'hamed Ould Khaddad, Sahrawi coordinator with the UN, rejected "any solution that does not respect the Sahrawi people's right to self-determination and independence." He demanded that the referendum calendar be respected, stating that "another delay is unacceptable." During the consultative session, Prime Minister Bouchraya Beyoun, presented the framework of his government's program for the year 2000. He said the priority will be to strengthen the army in order to prepare for a possible resumption of war.(SPS)
The first national school of administration was inaugurated. Built close to the October 12 School, 17 km south of the Smara wilaya, this school will provide professional training to some 100 trainees from the wilayas and from Sahrawi national institutions. (SPS).
Since January 20, demonstrations have been organized in Smara (see Week 04), where several dozen people meet every day in front of the provincial administrative offices to demand the release of political prisoners.
Following three months of detention, three human rights activists appeared before the trial judge in Agadir. The examination lasted five hours, in the presence of lawyers and the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH). The three Sahrawis, Cheikh ould Abdelaziz ould Abdellah (Cheikh Khaya), Brahim ould Najem (Brahim Leghzal) and Laârbi ould Said ould Boujemaâ ( Laârbi Massoudi), have been detained since December 6, 1999. (AFAPREDESA)
In a press release, the Moroccan bar association denounced the identification results of the Sahrawi tribal groupings H41, H61 and J51/52. It announced the disposal of all Moroccan lawyers to provide the necessary legal support for the appeals process. (Le Matin du Sahara)
29.01.00, Bologna, Italy: The Left Democrats youth organization, the Greens of Emilia Romagna, the regional coordinating committee of the Italian Sahrawi support group, ARCI and several other Sahrawi solidarity groups, organized a gathering in front of the Moroccan consulate followed by a demonstration in the city's main square to demand that the UN respect human rights in the Western Sahara's occupied territories and condemn Morocco's efforts to delay the referendum process.
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