WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 26

25.06-01.07.2000

 

20.06.00
Sentence
The Court of Cassation of Marrakech condemned the young Saharawi, Rajaa Brahim to five years imprisonment, for having burnt a car belonging to the Moroccan administration during the incidents on 17 May last. The parents of the accused were not able to be present during the hearing of the case, nor were they able to visit their son during his period in custody which lasted over a month and during which he was subject to physical and psychological torture. (
SPS)

21.06.00
Human Rights
On the occasion of the visit of the King of Morocco, Amnesty International USA demanded that the Moroccan government should immediately complete research and procure adequate compensation for all the victims of forced disappearance or arbitrary detention as well as to their families, including the hundreds of Saharawis, whose cases have not been recognised by the authorities.

21.06.00
Australia
During a debate on the UN peace plan for Western Sahara in the NSW parliament, Lee Rhiannon, member of The Greens, support the request issued by the Polisario that the Australian Government use all available means to help in the successful implementation of the UN peace plan for Western Sahara.

22.06.00
American Congress
In an intervention in Congress, Mr Pitts made public a letter addressed to President Clinton, signed by 22 members of Congress, which stresses the necessity of respecting the UN peace plan and asks the head of State to remind the King of Morocco, on a visit to the USA, of his commitment in favour of the referendum. This move was motivated by the position of France and the USA in the Security Council favouring the abandonment of the settlement plan.

22.06.00
American Senate
Several American senators sent a petition to President Clinton, asking the US to play a constructive role in order to prevent the resumption of hostilities in Western Sahara and expressing the view that the solution to the conflict requires a referendum which will contribute to the stability and development of Morocco.

22.06.00
Senator Kennedy
In a
press release after his meeting with the King of Morocco, Senator Edward Kennedy expressed the view that the referendum should be held as soon as possible. He attributed the delays above all to the Moroccan government and deplored the fact that Morocco should lose its credibility by trying to escape from international law.

26.06.00
Sentence
The three Saharawis sentenced in Agadir had their appeal heard. The judgement will be made public on 3 July. The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) had nominated Dominique Noguère as an observer. The Committee of Human Rights (CDDH - Marrakech) and the Moroccan Organisation of Human Rights (OMDH) each sent an observer. The prisoners are still in the civil prison of Inezgane near Agadir with detainees in common law. The conditions of detention are very severe.

26.06.00
India
India, which recognised SADR on 01.10.85, withdrew its recognition of the Saharawi Republic, announcing that it will follow the development of the situation, support the UN settlement plan and will keep amical relations with the parties concerned.

26-29.06.00
Australia
During its congress the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), held between 26-29 June in Wollongong, adopted a resolution on Western Sahara: "The ACTU will continue to support human rights and independence struggles including those in Western Sahara. Specifically the ACTU in Western Sahara supports a free and fair referendum in accord with UN resolutions."

27.06.00
Morocco
The Moroccan Prime Minister, Mr El Youssoufi, had talks in Geneva with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mrs Sadako Ogata. Mr. El Youssoufi also met the President of the International Red Cross (CICR), Mr Jakob Kellenberger, with whom he raised the question of Moroccan prisoners in the hands of the Polisario. (
agencies)

28.06.00
Negotiations in London II
Negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front, under the auspices of James Baker, took place in the private residence of the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robin Cook.
The delegations present were identical to those of 14 May, except that the Moroccan delegates who are former members of the Polisario, were not admitted to the discussions. These focused on the proposals from the parties for overcoming the obstacles to the peace plan and lasted four hours. They were called "frank" by the UN spokesman.
Mr Baker reaffirmed that "it is not a question of killing the peace plan or setting it aside", according to
aps.
The Polisario Front handed a memorandum to Baker, clarifying its position on all the litigious aspects and reiterating its wish to cooperate fully on a solution to the conflict within the framework of the settlement plan. "We had in depth discussions by no substantial progress was made", declared Brahim Ghali, Polisario representative in Spain, quoted by
afp.
"We discussed the aspects which are preventing the implementation of the peace plan, but made no advance", Mahfoud Ali Beiba confirmed. The leader of the Saharawi delegation also announced that "another meeting will take place in London in September on the same level as today". He added that "we agreed to organise technical meetings in July and August". (
afp)
Brahim Mokhtar, Polisario representative in London, announced on Algerian radio that "I do not regard this meeting as a failure, like the one last May. But rather as a step in the direction of implementing the peace plan". A possible abandonment of the peace plan - the third way - was not raised during these discussions.
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