WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 17

22.-28.04.2001

 

23.04.01
Spain
Members of the Coordination of support associations to the Saharawi people of the province of Alicante shut themselves up to the French consulate of Alicante for 2 hours as a protest demonstration against the attitude of the government of France to the Western Sahara question. The group transmitted to the consul a letter addressed to the French government.

23.04.01
Morocco
Saharawi citizens are still under surveillance and repression/quibbling. At the Casablanca airport Mr Saffar Echeikh, former "disappeared" and prisoner of the Kalaat M'gouna and Agdz jails for 16 years, has been prevented from leaving Morocco. He was on the way to Spain for professional reasons like several times in the past.
(corr.)

23.04.01
Morocco
In a press declaration, Pierre Sané, secretary-general of Amnesty International in visit in Morocc, estimated this country has still "about sixty political prisoners", from the islamic movements or Saharawis. He said the prisoners must have a fair trial, corresponding to international norms. He asked the Moroccan government to release immediately four Saharawi prisoners, condemned for "pro-Polisario activities" and adopted by Amnesty International. According to the Moroccan authorities there are no more political prisoners in the jails of the kingdom since Mohamed VI accessed to the throne in July 1999.
(SPS)

23.04.01
Western Sahara
The Forum Vérité et Justice, section Sahara, organised a meeting at its center in El Aayun in solidarity with its 2 members prevented last month from participating in the UN Human rights session in Geneva. The HR defense organisation reaffirmed on this occasion its determination to pursue its actions to defend the human rights in the region, in particular the file of the disappeared persons and the mortal remains of the deceaded. An appeal was attended to the population to become active on this issue. More than 250 persons, 2/3 of them women, assited the reunion. For the first time the FVJSA used publicly the words "Western Sahara" and "Saharawi people" and affirmed that "the HR violations in the Sahara are connected with the military and political conflict".
(corr.)

24.04.01
Algeria
A delegation of the EU, representing Sweden, Belgium and France, led by Javier Solana, representing the EU, reached Algiers to discuss the bilateral relations and the Western Sahara conflict.
(Libération, Paris)

24.04.01
SG Report
S/2001/398
In its summary of the activities of the last two months, Annan mentions the talks of James Baker with the two parties and with members of the Security Council. He writes that the tension raised following the Paris-Dakar rally remained high. The Polisario Front maintained important restraints to the freedom of movement of MINURSO observers. In March, Morocco decided to begin the construction of an asphalted road accross the 5 km buffer strip into Mauritania near Nouadhibou. A military unit of the Moroccan Royal Army was deployed in order to provide security for people working on the road. After intervention of MINURSO the project which "raised sensitive issues and involved activities that could be in violation of the ceasefire" was abandoned.
The Identification Commission completed its preparatory work for hearing the pending appeals. The UNHCR met with WFP and ECHO with the objective of redressing the basic food situation in the camps.The implementation of a three month buffer stock was decided.
In his recommendations, the Secretary-general considers there has been no progress "toward overcoming the obstacles to the implementation of the Settlement Plan", but he believes "that substantial progress has been made towards determining whether the Government of Morocco as the administrative power in Western Sahara is prepared to offer or support some devolution of authority for all the inhabitants and former inhabitants of the Territory that is genuine, substantial and in keeping with international norms". Because of that progress he recommends that the Security Council extends the mandate of MINURSO for two months, until 30 June 2001,to provide time to James Baker to consult further with the parties.

Saharawi Reaction
For the Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, M'Hamed Khaddad, the report reaffirms the commitment of the UN for the implementation of the settlement plan but also for the search of a political solution. The respect of the legitimate rights of the Saharawi people is the only way to put the conflict to an end, the alternative solution, Morocco tries to make credible, is nothing but an illusion and consequently a waste of time he states.

25.04.01
Fishery agreements
The Saharawi minister M. Sidati, in a declaration, expreses the bitterness of the Saharawi people following, without being consulted, the ups and downs of the negociations about the selling of its own resources. He thinks that the international community has the duty to preserve the Saharawi resources as it did for Namibia and Timor and asks for custody by the UN of fishery and phosphate ressources until the problem of the sovereignty of the territory is determined.

27.04.01
Security Council
S/RES/1349 (2001)
The Council adopted unanimously the resolution extending the MINUSRO mandate for 2 months untill 30 of June 2001."with the expectation that the parties, under the auspices of the Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, will continue to try to resolve the multiple problems relating to the implementation of the Settlement Plan and try to agree upon a mutually acceptable political solution to their dispute over Western Sahara", exactly the same words as in the resolutions of February 2001 and October 2000...Several members of the Council (Russia, Jamaica, Columbia, mautitius, Sinpapour, Mali...) expressed their discontent with the report of the referendum and rejected all solutions which do not respect the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people.
(UN, SPS)

27.04.01
USA
Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives have asked President Bush to intervene in favor of the self-determination referendum in Western Sahara. In a letter the parlamentarians, representing the Republican and Democratic Parties, called on the US president to use his influence to remind Morocco of its commitments towards the settlement plan and of the need to immediately organize the referendum. The deputies also expressed their concern over the UN's continuous delay in organizing a free and just referendum in Western Sahara.

26-27.04.01
OAU
President Abdelaziz participates at Abuja (Nigeria) in the African summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. Apart from the summit, the Algerian president Bouteflika held talks with the UN secretary-general concerning the issue of Western Sahara and the tour which Mr James Baker would pay soon to the region.

SOLIDARITY

19.04.01, Sesto Fiorentina, Italia: è giunto in Italia, ospite dell'Associazione di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi 'Ban Slout Larbi' di Sesto Fiorentino, l'on. MOHAMED ULEIDA, membro del Parlamento della Repubblica Araba Saharawi Democratica (R.A.S.D.), che mercoledì 24 aprile incontrerà il Presidente della Regione Toscana, Claudio Martini, il Presidente del Consiglio Regionale, Riccardo Nencini e il Vicepresidente del Consiglio Regionale, Enrico Cecchetti ai quali consegnerà la bandiera della R.A.S.D. che verrà esposta per un mese nella 'Sala dei Gigli', sala di rappresentanza della Regione Toscana. L'iniziativa si inserisce in un percorso più ampio organizzato a livello nazionale dall'Associazione Nazionale di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi e dall'ANPI, che hanno preso accordi con le Amministrazioni locali gemellate con le Tendopoli, affinché nelle consuete celebrazioni del prossimo 25 Aprile, Festa della Liberazione Nazionale, venga ricordata anche la lotta di liberazione del Popolo Saharawi, inserendo nei manifesti relativi alle varie iniziative la frase "Festa della Liberazione: dedicata al Popolo Saharawi e a tutti i Popoli che ancora lottano per la libertà".

21.04.01, Sidi Bel Abbès, Algérie: Un meeting de solidarité avec le peuple sahraoui a été organisé à Sidi Bel Abbes en présence de Mme Saida Benhabyles, présidente du Comité National de Solidarite avec le Peuple Sahraoui (CNSPS), M. Malainine Seddik ambassadeur de la RASD en Algérie et avec la participation d'une délégation composée de parlementaires algériens et sahraouis.

03.04.01, Argelato, Bologna, Italia: Il Comune di Argelato dopo la visita de una delegazione del Comune ai campi profughi Saharawi che ha relazionato al Consiglia Comunale su tale situazione, esprime la piena solidarietà. al Popolo Saharawi; auspica che il referendum per l'autodeterminazione del popolo Saharawi possa finalmente tenersi in tempi brevi, nel pieno rispetto della legalità e della democrazia; auspica altresì che il Governo Italiano possa addivenire al riconoscimento della Repubblica Araba Saharawi Democratica; invita il Sindaco e Ia Giunta a valutare l'opportunità d'instaurare ulteriori azioni di solidarietà e di collaborazione con il Popolo Saharawi, anche attraverso accordi ed interventi intercomunali e Provinciali, nonché con l'approvazione di eventuali gemellaggi con Comuni della Repubblica Araba Saharawi Democratica e ospiterà un gruppo di giovani Saharawi.

28.04.01 Polanco, Asturias, Espana: El Pleno del Ayuntamiento de Polanco aprobó por unanimidad apoyar la candidatura de la mujer saharaui para el Premio Príncipe de Asturias a la Concordia 2001, como reconocimiento a la labor que desempeña en los campamentos de refugiados de Tinduf, y también como homenaje por su «valor, resistencia y determinación»

COMING UP...

Söhne und Töchter der Wolken - Vertreibung und Exil in der Westsahara, Ausstellung zur Westsahara im Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde,Köln, 09.03. bis 29.07.01. http://www.museenkoeln.de/Rjm/temp/0103_soehne/index.htm

INTERNET

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