WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEKS 27+28

02.-15.07.2000

 

Resolution of the Security Council S/RES/1301 (2000)
Commentaries and analyses (continuation and end):

16. Lecil D. Wills: The world must accept the manifest destiny of the Western Sahara
17.
Elisabeth Muller: Quelques souvenirs... un engagement

India
After India's withdrawal of recognition of SADR, the Indian press have been analysing the reasons for what they consider a surprising decision. While
Mainstream describes the decision as sad and without precedent, Frontline Magazine notes a change in traditional Indian policy of support to processes of decolonisation. The decision is believed to have been taken by only a few people in the heart of the government. The journalist thinks that India has committed a mistake by «sending the wrong signal towards Africa», a signal which could be taken as an insult to the OAU. The Hindu sees in it an attempt by India to gain support from Morocco within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in relation to Kashmir, a false hope, according to the journalist. He points out that India has insisted it wants to keep friendly relations with both parties.
The SADR Chargé d'affaires in New Dehli, Abba Malainine, in an interview with the German daily paper,
Junge Welt, regrets the volte-face of this influential country, which could have contributed actively to the resolution of the conflict. He sees no benefit that India can obtain from this gesture which, he adds, attacks the prestige of India in third world countries, especially in Africa.

30.06.00
Maghreb
In a speech before the Tunisian Parliament on the occasion of his visit to Tunisia, President Bouteflika reaffirmed the Algerian position favouring the right to self-determination of peoples, «a sacred principle», «a pivot of Algerian external policy», he affirmed, «whether in Surinam, Belize, Timor, Brunei or Western Sahara». Responding indirectly to the King of Morocco, he stated that he rejected «the politics of the fait accompli, the law of the jungle, the hegemony of the strongest», believing that «the rules which govern relations (between Morocco and Algeria) should be frank and sincere in a brotherly way, with regard to public international opinion, the press and foreign capitals. They should also be careful not to attack those things which have brought us together in the past and which exist between us, (...) so that these relations should be strengthened (...). A context in which we do not deny the past, do not attribute blame for the present and do not close doors, by insults or falsification of the facts, to a common future which will inevitably come to pass.»

30.06.-09.07.00
France
At the invitation of the Fondation France-Libertés, Mohamed Sidati, Minister Counsellor to the Presidency of SADR and Elisabeth Muller, Deputy General Secretary of the Association française des Amis de la RASD, took part in the 4th International Film Festival "Résistances", which presented 120 films and daily debates on the themes: Shores of the Pyrenees, Margins and deviance, Justice and equity. The short fim "Laila" and the film "Los Baules del retorno" were shown during the evening of 1 July devoted to the Western Sahara, in the presence of the Spanish producer and actress, Sylvia Munt and Danièle Mitterrand.

01.07.00
Solidarity
7,320 Saharawi children aged between 8 and 12 will spend their summer holidays in Spain with families, and also in Italy, France, Austria, Great Britain and Switzerland etc... Programmes of activities have been organised for the children who will not leave the camps. In the wilaya of Dakhla, «Enfants réfugiés du monde» has organised leisure activities in coordination with UJSARIO, from which over a thousand children will benefit. (
SPS)

03.07.00
Sentences
Brahim Laghzal, Cheikh Khaya and Laarbi Massoudi were sentenced to 4 years of prison by the Court of Appeal in Agadir and a fine of 10,000 dirhams each. Abducted on 6 December 1999, and incarcerated since then in Inezgane prison near Agadir, the three Saharawis were sentenced by the Magistrate's Court on 2 June 2000 to 4 years in prison for the first two and 3 years for the third. They were charged with endangering the internal security of the State and with spying for the Polisario Front.

05.07.00
Referendum
At a meeting of the European parliamentary group «Peace for the Saharawi People», Mohamed Sidati, Minister Counsellor to the SADR Presidency, announced on the subject of the London talks round II, that «the position presented by the Moroccan delegation remains tainted with ambiguities and contradictions, expressing a clear unwillingness to abide by the commitments undertaken in New York and Houston». Sidati called on the European Union to put all its weight into the balance «in order to bring the protagonists to respect their commitments», and expressed the hope that France will adopt «a less partisan attitude» and «more in conformity with international law». (full text
french)

06-12.07.00
36th Summit of OAU, Lome, Togo
The Committee of Ambassadors, meeting from 4-6 July, appointed Fadel Ismail, the Saharawi Ambassador to the OAU, as rapporteur of the ministerial session.
In his speech to the Council of Ministers (6-10 July), the Saharawi Foreign Minister, Ould Salek, warned of Morocco's attempts to persist in refusing the referendum. He asked the OAU, guarantor with the UN of the Peace Plan, to defend it to preserve the peace.
The OAU Secretary General, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, broached the question of the Sahara in his annual report, stating, «The OAU will continue to support the United Nations in its efforts to allow the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination». He added that the OAU believes that the settlement plan, agreed by the two parties, remains the viable instrument for the organisation and holding of the referendum in Western Sahara. Its speedy implementation would help reduce tension which is becoming more and more manifest and would contribute considerably to promote cooperation between the states of the Maghreb.
In his opening assessment at the summit of heads of State, the retiring president, A. Bouteflika, renewed his «homage» to SADR for its «courageous and generous» decision not to take part in the first OAU-EU summit in Cairo.
Mohamed Abdelaziz, in his contribution, expressed the view that «the way things are going, we do not have much hope that the referendum will be organised in the near future». He launched an urgent appeal to the international community to save the peace in the region. The Saharawi president had talks with the Algerian president, the president of Ghana, the president of Uganda and the Ethiopian Prime Minister, as well as with the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
SADR was elected as a member of the executive of the next OAU summit and will therefore be a member for one year of the Committee for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, the African equivalent of the Security Council (
SPS).

06.07.00
Cooperation
The Saharawi Minister for Health, Omar Mansour, and the counsellor responsible for health in the autonomous province of Castille y Leon, have signed an agreement of collaboration in the area of health.

06.07.00
UN
In his speech to the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation, the Polisario Front representative A. Boukhari stated that the identification of electors «remains the key of the credibility of the referendum». Regretting that the experience of the United Nations in East Timor did not have consequences for the question of Western Sahara, he stated that on the contrary, «we are unfortunately witnessing manoeuvres with the aim of putting pressure on the international community and the Saharawi people to make them give up independence». (
SPS, aps)

08.07.00
Solidarity
The platform «Solidarity with the Saharawi People», which regroups AFASPA, APAPS (Palaiseau), APMCJ, Association des Amis de la RASD, Association des Jeunes Sahraouis en France, CLPS (Limousin), Eclaireurs de France, ETM Cahors Femmes Solidaires, Fondation France Libertés, Francas, Guides de France, Secours Populaire, Un camion citerne pour les Sahraouis (Le Havre), VVL, Figeaction, FOL Ardèche, is organising the visit of Saharawi children in France this year. A hundred children, who arrived at the beginning of July, will stay for several weeks in Argenteuil, Bouguenais, Cahors, Champagne, Cuges-les-Pins, Figeac, Gonfreville l'Orcher, Hérouville Saint Clair, Le Mans, Limoges, Loon Plage, Palaiseau, Rezé, Saint Junien, Saint Nazaire, Villejuif, Vitry sur Seine, Cruas. Further information:
liegeois@club-internet.fr

09.07.00
6th world conference on education for peace
At this conference organised at UNESCO in Paris by the International Association of Educators for Peace, El Khadir Daoud, representative of AFAPREDESA and former «disappeared», spoke at the workshop on «Rights of peoples, Saharawi and Kurd examples». He reaffirmed the determination of the Saharawis to self-determination and appealed formally to the International Community and especially to France to commit themselves resolutely to the support of the referendum process.

10.07.00
Solidarity
A day of information and solidarity with the Saharawi people took place in Algiers.The associations organising it pointed out the continuity of Algeria's position with regard to the question of Western Sahara and the colonial character of this conflict. They recalled that the solution proposed by the UN and accepted by Morocco and the Polisario Front remains the only practicable way forward.

12.07.00
SG Report
S/2000/683 (HTML or PDF format)

Full text transcription of the chapter IV. Observations and recommendations

27. Despite the efforts by my Personal Envoy, there was no progress during the meeting held in London on 28 June between the parties in resolving any of the multiple problems impeding the implementation of the settlement plan. In fact, my Personal Envoy has pointed out to me, as he did to the parties at the end of the consultations, that the meeting, instead of resolving the problems, had moved things backwards.
28. After stating their respective positions, which were already known, neither party appeared willing to offer any concrete proposals to bridge the differences between them. They both insisted on a "winner-take-all" approach and did not appear willing to discuss a solution where each would get some, but not all, of what each wanted. Nor did they appear disposed to put aside mutual animosity and begin to negotiate a political solution that would resolve their dispute over Western Sahara.
29. As my Personal Envoy explained to the parties, a political solution could be a number of things, but most importantly, it would not be a military solution. Such a solution could be: a negotiated agreement for full integration with Morocco; a negotiated agreement for full independence; a negotiated agreement for something in between; or a negotiated agreement that would permit a successful implementation of the settlement plan. It should be noted, however, that the positions of the parties in interpreting some of the key provisions of the settlement plan, and the problems encountered over the past nine years to achieve its implementation, do not augur well for that prospect. Obviously, arriving at a political solution is far more preferable than a breakdown of the process which might lead to a return to hostilities, something that must be avoided at all costs.
30. Concluding this rather bleak assessment of the current situation, I should like to suggest that the Security Council reflect on the problem of ensuring that the results of the referendum, were one to be held, are respected by the parties. In this regard, I should like to recall, as my Personal Envoy pointed out to the parties during the recent London meeting, and as already stated in paragraph 36 of my report of 26 February 2000 (S/2000/131), that there is no enforcement mechanism envisioned by the settlement plan, nor is one likely to be proposed, calling for the use of military means to effect enforcement.
31. Despite the lack of progress at the London meeting, I hope that during the forthcoming expert-level meetings in Geneva on the questions regarding appeals, prisoners of war and refugees some progress could be achieved. Following those consultations, I expect my Personal Envoy to meet again with the parties, in the presence of the two observer countries, to try once again to resolve the multiple problems relating to the implementation of the settlement plan and to try to agree upon any other political solution to their dispute over Western Sahara. In the meantime, I recommend that the Security Council extend the mandate of MINURSO for a period of three months, until 31 October 2000.»

Special event

"Sons and Daughters of the Clouds. Expulsion and Exile in Western Sahara"
On July 2nd, 2000, the Hamburg Ethnological Museum opened its doors to an extraordinary exhibition: in part the Saharawi Refugee camp in the Algerian Sahara has been reproduced, and the visitors will discover a courageous nomadic people - having spent 25 years in exile and still fighting for its right to self-determination. This exhibition was prepared by the German-Saharawi-Solidarity Committee in cooperation with a group of ethnologists. Till the end of September there will be a large-scale supporting program offering a concert ("El Ouali"), films, debates, a theatre workshop as well as numerous activities (henna dying of visitors hands, working with leather, an actor reading literary texts on the desert).
More than 200 people were present at the inauguration and the event was largely covered in the press.
Address: Ethnological Museum, Rothenbaumchaussée 64, D- 20148 hamburg, tel: ++49 40 42848 2524/ fax: ++49 40 42848 2242

 

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