WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 34

20.-26.08.2000

 

The UN under the influence - Impartiality of the UN in question
Osman Hassan has worked for the UN since 1978, to the satisfaction of the organisation, as a staff member of UNCTAD and in a number of peace-keeping missions. From 1994-96 he was an identification commissioner for MINURSO. Erik Jensen, Special representative of the UN Secretary General, gave him an excellent reference in 1996. When the identification Commission re-started its work MINURSO recalled him. He was requested in November 97, but learnt a few days later from the UN personnel service that he was not needed, the team being "complete". This was not true, new staff without experience were subsequently engaged. Osman Hassan learnt that he, with Frank Ruddy, were among five commissioners accused by Morocco of partiality, in a report which it distributed only to certain members of the UN 4th Commission on 7 October 1996. MINURSO requested him four more times to return to his former post, but each time the appointment was not made. He tried to join other UN operations with the same result: his application was not acted upon, they "forgot" to send it on, finally responses are negative with fallacious pretexts.
Osman Hassan wrote to Kofi Annan on 28 June 2000, to put his case to him. According to him the accusations figuring in the document distributed by Morocco in 1996 are grotesque and without foundation. While he was working no one had made any complaint. More seriously, the former UN official found out that information relating to the hearing of candidates that he interviewed had been leaked to Morocco. He accuses a member of the identification commission, a former ambassador of a country in the region, known for being openly pro-Moroccan.
For Osman Hassan, Morocco did everything it could to remove commissioners not to their liking for the identification of the contested tribes. By intervening in New York, through privileged channels, Morocco did not allow those accused to defend themselves and they could more easily be made redundant. It should be noted that no commissioner accused by the Polisario Front of being pro-Moroccan has been removed.
Osman Hassan accuses those responsible for recruitment in the UN of «undermining of MINURSO's impartiality in the identification process and the accompanying abuse of power by those dealing with mission staffing». These people took into consideration, without any enquiry or proof, Moroccan accusations, they made use of them without MINURSO knowing to eliminate commissioners who were too honest. Osman Hassan considers that the impartiality and integrity of the identification have been compromised.
It is in these conditions that MINURSO will begin the appeals process. (
ARSO)

20.08.00
Morocco
Concerning the discovery of large deposits of hydrocarbons in the region of Talsint (south-east of Morocco, near the Algerian border), which would yield 1.5 - 2 billion barrels, the Moroccan daily of Istiqlal,
L'Opinion, writes:«Europe will give stronger support to Morocco on the international and regional level and principally concerning the affair of our Southern Provinces. The same goes for the USA. From now on, they will be inclined to readjust their policies in the region, if only because it is an American company which has been prospecting in Morocco and which would be one of the parties exploiting these resources. Washington will reinforce its role in the settlement of the Sahara affair, to prevent any deterioration in Moroccan-Algerian relations.»

22.08.00
Algeria
The Algerian committee of solidarity with the Saharawi people held its general assembly in Algiers, adopted its constitution and elected the 10 members of its executive. Mrs Anissa Boumedienne was designated Honorary President, while Mrs Saida Benhabyles has been appointed Executive President. Mr. Kamel Rezag Bara and Mr Boudjemaa Souliah are Vice-Presidents. The Saharawi President, Mohamed Abdelaziz sent a message of congratulations. (
aps)

23.08.00
Vatican
The Pope Jean-Paul II received a delegation of Saharawi children on holiday in Italy.(photos: http://www.arso.org/p/pape.htm)

23.08.00
Nigeria-Ghana
The Moroccan minister of Foreign Affairs went to Abuja and Accra as part of the Moroccan offensive for the withdrawal of recognition of SADR by African countries. Morocco and Ghana are shortly to re-open their respective embassies.

24.08.00
Western Sahara
The sit-in of Saharawi unemployed continues in El Ayoun. The demonstrators are demanding not only better working conditions, but also compensation for victims of arbitrary detention and information on the disappeared. They condemn the policy of moving young Saharawis forcibly to Morocco and that of systematic colonisation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

 

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