WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 25

17.-23.06.2001

18.06.01
On the eve of the renewal of MINURSO's mandate by the UN and  the summit of the OAU at the beginning of July in Lusaka,the Saharawi minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, visited  Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali and Angola, while the permanent representative of SADR at the OAU, Ambassador Fadel Ismail, went to Nairobi, Dar-Es-Salaam and Kampala.

19.06.01
According to Jeune Afrique L'intelligent, South Africa is getting ready to recognise SADR officially.

19.06.01
The United Nations General Assembly has opened credits worth US$ 50.4 million to finance the MINURSO, over the period extending between July 1st, 2001 and June 30, 2002. The general assembly said a monthly amount of US$ 4.2 million will be disbursed.

20.06.01
The US-Western Sahara Foundation sent an
open letter to  President Bush asking him to intervene by asking Kofi Annan to organise the referendum in Western Sahara immediately.  "After over $530 million expenditures and nine years of broken promises, Suzanne Scholte, president of the Foundation, writes, the United Nations has failed to deliver on the referendum over Western Sahara.  Now, they seem to be advocating a third solution that is totally against everything the UN purported to be advocating at the outset of the UN peacekeeping mission (MINURSO)."

20.06.01
Le Monde, french newspaper, quoting sources close to the Polisario, writes that the Moroccan proposal for the autonomy of Western Sahara only allows a partial delegation of local affairs to the Saharawis. On  economic matters, Rabat would propose to allocate 20% of revenue raised locally by the state to the Saharawis. Furthermore, the Saharawis would not enjoy  any sort of sovereignty. A senior official from Rabat would administer Western Sahara. The Saharawis would be represented by a local assembly elected only by those among the Saharawis who had been recorded as voters by MINURSO. This is a surprise, J-P Tuquoi writes, in so far as, until now, the Moroccans had claimed that the Saharawi population included tens of thousands of tribal members settled in the south of the Kingdom.

Mrs Kessler, president of the intergroup of the European Parliament, "Peace for the Saharawi People", replied to this article.(english and french )

20.06.01
In a
communiqué, the Europe representation of the Polisario Front confirmed that James Baker had shown the Moroccan proposals for plan of autonomy in Western Sahara to the Polisario Front , who rejected them "categorically and definitively". Under this plan "the currency, the flag, customs, foreign policy, home affairs, communications, defence, police and justice would all remain within the competency and the authority of the Moroccan state. As for the judiciary, Moroccan law would be the rule". (...) "At the end of four years of the assimilation policy, it is planned that Morocco could organise, if it so wishes, a consultation designed to give a blessing to the integration of Western Sahara within it which would then be practically almost completed. The electors called to vote would in fact be a majority of Moroccans, sent over the preceding years to the territory to contribute to the colonisation of Western Sahara, and to reduce the Saharawis to a simple minority." For the Polisario Font, "Morocco and the countries which support it, including France which is taking scandalous advantage of its influence on this question within the UN Security Council, are trying, in an iniquitous way without precedent, to ratify the injustice of a violent, unacceptable occupation which violates international law and human rights."

20.06.01
The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs has denied "categorically" press information putting forward a Moroccan proposal to resolve the question of the Sahara.... (MAP)

22.06.01
Report of the UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan shares the view of James Baker, who thinks that there are serious doubts as to the possibility of implementing the settlement plan. Even modified, its implementation would always  result in there being a winner and a loser. He therefore proposes to freeze the settlement plan, in the hope that Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania will begin discussions on a proposed Framework Agreement. Kofi Annan asks the Security Council for a period of five months for these negotiations. We will return with details of the proposal once its content is fully known.
The Council is expected to take up Western Sahara in consultations on 26.06.01, when Baker is to brief them on the report. A decision is expected for the end of the week.

Reactions

- Intervention of the Saharawi representative Ahmed Boukhari before the UN Special Committee on Decolonization on 21.06.01.

- Baker jumps into bed with Morocco to end referendum on Western Sahara, a Press release of Western Sahara Campaign UK, 21.06.01

- Press statement from the SADR Ministry of Information on 22.06.01

- Declaration of Ibrahim Mokhtar, Polisario representative to UK, 22.06.01

- Statement by the French Association of Friends of SADR, AARASD,on 22.06.01

- In a diplomatic note by the Algerian Ambassador with the United Nations, Abdallah Baali, handed to the President of the Security Council, Algeria holds that Annan's proposal is "neither credible, nor substantial nor genuine", its aim being to set in motion an argument for the integration of the Saharawi territory to Morocco." (El Mundo, Madrid)

22.06.01
Morocco and Western Sahara, human rights
The independent Arbitration and Compensation Commission has taken 609 definitive decisions of which 376 concern the payment of definitive compensation and 233 of ineligibility, the Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH) announced. "712 persons among the direct victims and their next of kin in the group of disappeared and arbitrary detainees in Tazmamart, Kelaat Megouna, Laayoune and Agdez" are concerned. (Statement from the CCDH)

The Coordination Committee of Saharawi victims of forced disappearance indicates that 53 Saharawis were immediately compensated, while about a hundred will be next week. The compensation varies between US$30,000 and 135,000. It only applies to those persons who accepted in advance the proposals of the commission. The Coordination Committee refused this form of compensation and is continuing to bargain with the Commission. (corr.)

SOLIDARITY

20.06.01 Sydney, Australia
The steps of Parliament House were ablaze with colour and the flash of media cameras as two camels draped in the Western Sahara flag arrived, watched by dignitaries, trade union leaders and Western Sahara supporters in traditional dress. Their arrival was part of an event hosted by Janelle Saffin MLC (Parliamentarian) which included an exhibition and auction of photographs of images taken in the Saharawi refugee camps by UK photographer Danielle Smith.
Speakers included Senator Lyn Allison, Hon.Justice John Dowd, president of the Australian division of the International Commission of Jurors; John Robertson, Secretary of the Labor Council of NSW; David Raper, president of Amnesty International (NSW Branch) as well as Special Guest Kamal Fadel, Polisario's Representative in Australia and host Janelle Saffin. All speakers called for an end to the suffering of the Saharawi refugees who have been living for 25 years in refugee camps in the desert of south-western Algeria, where they fled to escape the bombs and napalm of the invading Moroccan army.

INTERNET

I was dreaming for such a mission... Cynthia Basinet offers WSO an interview and shares her comments regarding a recent visit to the Saharawi refugee camps. Western Sahara online, 17.06.01.

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