WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 39

24.-30.09.2000

 

France
In a memorandum (
French) sent to the French authorities, the French branch of the International Observation of the referendum in Western Sahara, SFO, demands that they abandon their 'role of unconditional support' to Morocco, which would help it 'get out of the quagmire which is harming it'. Faced with the risk of a freeze in the self-determination process and the renewal of fighting, the SFO asks France to commit itself to peace, backed by massive economic aid from the EU and the USA to the Maghreb states and by technical and economic assistance for the redeployment of Moroccan soldiers in civilian work.

21.09.00
Occupied Western Sahara
Sit-in of a hundred Saharawi students and unemployed graduates outside the seat of the OADP in El Ayoun, to protest against young Saharawis being sent to Morocco.

23.09.00
Solidarity
The Task Force of European committees of support for the Saharawi people, meeting in Paris, sent a letter to Ambassadors Baker and Eagleton as well as to the United Nations Secretary General, reminding them of the inalienable right of the Saharawis to a referendum of self-determination. Mrs S Benhabyles, president of the Algerian union of groups supporting the Saharawi people, who was present at the meeting, put the case for better coordination of the committees of support with Africa and the Middle East.

23-26.09.00
Referendum
As a result of the diplomatic tours of Saharawi emissaries, the following countries have reaffirmed their support for the UN/OAU peace plan and for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination: Vietnam, Jamaica, Benin, Venezuela, Panama, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, the Seychelles, Colombia, Rwanda, Burundi, Chile, Saint Lucie, Costa Rica. In this connection, Omar Mansour, Saharawi Minister of Public Health, took a personal message from the president Mohamed Abdelaziz to Nouakchott for the Mauritanian president, Mouaaya ould Taya. (
SPS)

24.09.00
Algeria - South Africa
Regarding the issue of Western Sahara, the leaders of the two countries stressed their support for the UN settlement plan and the Houston agreement. On the occasion of his visit to Algeria, the President of South Africa pointed out that Algeria and South Africa had dealt with the issue of Western Sahara and he confirmed the two countries' commitment to reactivating the UN settlement plan and the right of the Saharans to self-determination.

25.09.00
Occupied Western Sahara
Intensification of the Moroccan military presence in El Ayoun, particularly between 19-23 September, the anniversary of the 1999 demonstrations, and in the Hay Maatallah quarter, where the majority of the inhabitants are Saharawis.

25-26-27-28.09.00
UN General Assembly, Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (Fourth Committee)
Debates on the question of Western Sahara were opened by contributions from representatives of Algeria and Morocco, the latter maintaining that the question of Western Sahara is not a question of decolonisation. The representatives from Madagascar, Tanzania and Ghana expressed themselves in favour of the speedy implementation of the United Nations peace plan.
The following petitioners also expressed the same sentiments:

On 28 September the following personalities spoke:

Morocco presented 6 petitioners:
Richard Cazenave, parlamentary group for studies of human rights of the French parliament, Gajmoula Ebbi, Gaoutah Mohamed Ahmed Baba, Mohamed Salem Ali Omar Bahia,4 POLISARIO renegades and Akmer Ali Thobhani, Metropolitan State College de Denver, author of a study on Western Sahara.

For detailed reports see the UN press releases:

26.09.00 Press Release GA/SPD/183

27.09.00 Press Release GA/SPD/184

28.09.00 Press Release, GA/SPD/185 (revised)

29.09.00 Press Release, GA/SPD/186

27.09.00
Morocco
The trial of 14 Saharawi students, arrested on 17 May in Marrakech following disturbances around the University Souissi II (Week 20), has been postponed until 26 October. According to the
Economist (Moroccan daily) the accused face sentences up to and including capital punishment. (Press Review by the French Embassy in Rabat)

28.09.00
Berlin - Morocco-Saharawi negociations
The delegation of Morocco, leaded by Interior Minister M. Benaissa and POLISARIO delegation leaded by Mahfoud Ali Beiba met under the auspices of James Baker at the seat of the German Department of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting, scheduled, according the UN, to «resolve the multiple problems relating to the implementation of the settlement plan for Western Sahara and to try to find agreement on a mutually acceptable political solution to the dispute», ended in the afternoon without results.
While the Polisario delegation came to discuss all problems hindering the implementation of the plan, Morocco was stalling and did not want to discuss concrete problems at the beginning of the current deadlock: appeals, repatriation, confidence building measures ... Morocco suggested to abandon the referendum process itself - after nine years of efforts and high costs - and proposed to negociate directly, in a "frank and sincere dialogue" with the POLISARIO Front, about a political solution.
After the meeting the SADR Ministry of Information of SADR issued a press release (full text
French), in which it renews its «full committment to the peace plan and its disponibility to discuss with Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations, all the problems hindering the implementation of the plan, with the aim of a fair and free referendum in Western Sahara». For the Saharawi part, the Moroccan proposal means the burial of the UN peace process. «Morocco is the sole responsible for the present stalemate and it will assume alone any consequences which may threaten peace and stability in the region», it warns.
UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan confirmed that the latest negotiating effort to resolve differences between Morocco and the Frente Polisario «have ended inconclusively». He precised he is expecting the recommendations of his Personal Envoy as to whether their should be a follow-up meeting.

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