The Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs said, in reply to a parliamentary question, that "Switzerland supports the right of the Saharawis to self-determination and therefore the necessary preliminary of a referendum. Switzerland regrets that the parties have not been able to agree on the appeals procedure for the list of persons eligible to vote, the repatriation of refugees and other essential aspects of the UN settlement plan. It commends however, the intention of the UN Secretary General to pursue through the mediation of his special envoy, Mr James Baker, consultations with the parties with a view to finding solutions to the problems already mentioned."
Bahaha Salek Ould Mahmoud, Saharawi citizen, was abducted by Moroccan plain clothes policemen on 27 September 2000 at El Ayoun airport, when he was about to take the plane to Las Palmas (Canary Islands). Born in 1951 in El Ayoun, father of six children, Salek is employee of the Office Chérifien des Phosphates. On October 1 it was learnt that Bahaha Salek was being held at Inezgane prison near Agadir. According to SPS Salek belonged to a group of Saharawis sought after by the Moroccan authorities since the end of last year believed to be active militants of the Polisario Front. On October 11 he was condemned to 4 years of jail (more infos later).
The Euro-Arab Study Centre and the Centre for Study and Research of the Arab and Mediterranean World organised a seminar in Geneva on the theme "The Arab and Islamic world and human rights". The president of the Consultative Council for Human Rights in Morocco, Driss Dahak, and the Moroccan expert on the UN Sub-Commission for Human Rights, Mrs Ouarzazi, in their papers tried their best to present the Moroccan regime as being respectful of human rights. The General Secretary of the Union of Saharawi Jurists, Abba Salek, intervened and argued against the claims by the Moroccan officials concerning the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
The Republic of Guinea Bissau decided to improve its diplomatic relations with SADR by accrediting the appointment of an extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador from SADR. Guinea Bissau, which recognised SADR in 1976, had "frozen" its recognition in 1997 (week14/97).
Six Hungarian human rights organisations launched an urgent appeal asking for independence now for the Saharawi people and a peaceful and fair settlement of the Saharan conflict. (SPS)
The spokesman of an association of fishermen from Galicia believes that "the only solution" for reaching a fishing agreement with Morocco consists in supporting the referendum and independence for Western Sahara. Contacts have been made between the Galician fishermen and the Saharawi government.
The King of Morocco on week's a private visit to France was joined on 4 October by his Minister for Foreign Affairs. (Ach-Chark al-Awsat, London)
"A year after the events of September 1999 in Laâyoune, little seems to have changed. The management of such a sensitive issue is riddled with errors. Sometimes minimal, but with great symbolic significance for the Saharawis... In order to counteract any attempt to commemorate the events seen at Laâyoune during the past year, the public authorities brought out all the necessary forces to patrol all the areas of the town. So many measures, while the majority of the inhabitants do not even remember this event. By their presence, the forces of order did not fail to remind them..." (Demain, Moroccan weekly, quoted by the press review of the French Embassy in Rabat).
UN - 4th commission
The draft resolution on Western Sahara (A/C.4/55/L.3), which will be put before the General Assembly, was adopted without a vote. It reaffirms the responsibility of the UN with regard to the people of Western Sahara, in conformity with the settlement plan and emphasises the importance the UN attaches to the adherance to complete, fair and meticulous implementation of the settlement plan (...) It exhorts the two parties (...) to avoid any initiative which could compromise the implementation of the settlement plan (...) and commits them to apply loyally and faithfully all of the measures proposed by the Secretary General for the identification of voters and the appeals procedure. (...)
The Minister Counsellor of SADR told the European Parliament's intergroup, "Peace for the Saharawi people" that he regarded the 4th Commission's draft resolution as "an important development" and slap in the face of Morocco and those who support it. "Any attempt or solution which does not fit within the strict framework of the UN peace plan constitutes a dangerous deadend", Mohamed Sidati stressed.
Commenting on the meeting in Berlin, the Minister's view was that "there is no obstacle" to the peace plan and that Morocco's proposal to work directly with the Polisario Front is not a "new direction" but the proof that Morocco, as usual, wants to escape international law. Dr Sidati asked all the countries in the European Union to warn Morocco of the risks it is running in endangering peace, instead of encouraging it like certain countries, and hampering the settlement plan."The attitude of the EU could determine to a large extent whether peace is established or hostilities break out between the Saharawi people and Morocco", the Saharawi minister concluded.
According to Reporters without frontiers (RSF), on 4 October 2000, during a briefing on the position of Morocco on Western Sahara, the Minister of the Interior, Ahmed Midaoui, directly threatened Aboubakr Jamaï, editorial director of the weekly, Le Journal, in front of other journalists present. Making a reference to an interview of Le Journal with the General Secretary of the Polisario Front - this issue had in fact been seized on 15 April 2000 - the Minister stated to the journalist: "If you do that sort of interview again with a member of the Polisario Front, I will ban you again! Luckily you are not my son or I would have smashed your face in!" he added. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Youssoufi, RSF expressed concern at the threatening statements of the Minister of the Interior. Elsewhere, RSF recalled that "since 1 January 2000, eight papers including Le Journal, have been banned from circulation by the Moroccan authorities."
The Committees of the Interior and Foreign Affairs of the Moroccan Chamber of Councillors met to study developments in the Saharan question, on the request of the government and in the presence of the ministers concerned. (Ach-Chark al-Awsat, London)
The three Saharawis sentenced in Agadir to long prison terms for "endangering state security" were named as "prisoners of the month" by Amnesty International. (AI Worldwide appeal October 2000)
NEW ON INTERNET
Die deutsche eineWelt-gruppe hat ihre homepage upgedated und öffnet ein Forum über Westsahara: http://www704.l3.xodox.com/projekte/westsahara/index.html
Homepage des "Verein Westsahara Hartberg", Solidaritaetsgruppe in der Steiermark: http://oeh.tu-graz.ac.at/saft/info/westsahara/
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]
Attention: le nouveau «Guide bleu» Evasion Sahara (Hachette), ne mentionne plus le Sahara Occidental comme entité politique définie. N'achetez pas les publications qui «oublient» de tracer une frontière entre le Maroc et la RASD !
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