WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 28

08.-14.07.2001

28.06.01
Human rights
The president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with Peoples sent a letter to the president of the UN Commission of Human Rights, meeting in Geneva, to intervene in favour of a Saharawi detainee Ali Salem Hamdani, sentenced to five years in prison,who is in a precarious state of health.

05.07.01
Mauritania
The ambassador of Mauritania in Spain indicated that his country was in favour of peace in the Sahara and of a solution which the two parties would accept within the framework of UN decisions. Salem ould Memou added that his country "holds to the decisions of the UN"  
(Europa Press)

07.07.01
The Cape Verde president, Mr Pedro Pires, reiterated the constant position of his country of support to the Saharawi cause and of support for a fair and definitive solution to the conflict in Western Sahara through the implementation of the UN-OAU peace plan, the only framework guaranteeing to the Saharawi people the exercise of its right to self-determination and independence, in the course of an audience granted recently to Mr Melainine Sadik, Ambassador in Algiers and special envoy of the Saharawi president to Praia.
(SPS)

07.07.01
The United States has warned citizens that they could be a target of a terrorist attack in Morocco. The US state department canceled this Friday a call for vigilance launched for its citizens in Morocco following further evaluation regarding possible terrorist actions in Morocco. The alert has already  been lifted, on the 13th.

07.07.01
OAU, Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers rejected a proposal from Algeria,  asking that future Africa-Europe summits should become meetings of the OAU and Europe. Morocco not being a member of the OAU, which it excluded itself from upon the entry of SADR, could not have participated.
After over two hours of debate on the admission of Morocco to the African Union, the Council of Ministers decided that its membership should be made with respect for current procedures, by lodging an application to that effect. Senegal, Gambia, Burkina-Faso and Equatorial Guinea were in favour of the admission of Morocco. During their speeches, defenders of the Saharawi cause insisted on the fact that Morocco had not presented a membership application, that the cause of the Saharawi people is a just cause, that the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence should be respected, that Morocco is welcome to the OAU but not in place of a member state, and that today there are, in many African countries, embassies of Morocco and SADR side by side.  Why not do the same within the OAU?
(corr.)

09-11.07.01
37th Summit of the OAU
Frederick Chiluba, President of Zambia and new President taking office of the OAU, declared in his opening speech : "For nearly four decades, since 1963, the African continent has been liberated, with the exception of SADR. Our wish is to see the self-determination of SADR  realised as soon as possible , in accordance with the 1991 UN settlement plan ".  In this way, the new OAU president concluded, "all Africans would be able to enjoy freedom". (SPS)
The summit reaffirmed the support of Africa to the cause of the Saharawi people and reiterated the validity of the UN peace plan for Western Sahara as well as the necessity of holding a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people. The OAU reaffirmed once again that SADR is in the OAU completely legally, which does not close the door to any other state of the continent wishing to join the African Union, on condition that this is done within the rules currently in force. On the fringe of the conference, the SADR President, Mohamed Abdelaziz, met the UN SG, Mr Kofi Annan, as well as the departing SG of the OAU, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim and the new SG, Mr Essy Amara.  
(corr., SPS)

08.07.01
The French actor, Pierre Richard,  guest of the Algerian Committee of solidarity with the Saharawi people, said, in Algiers on the eve of his three-day visit to the Saharawi refugee camps, that the act of "stifling" the cause of Western  Sahara was equivalent to "not helping people in danger". The French actor affirmed that "he has become involved with the Saharawi cause to break a hole in the conspiracy of silence which has fallen over France like a leaden cloak on this question". (Aps)
Jean Lamore, editor in chief of the international review Mamba,  during the same press conference, accused the French authorities of having imposed censorship on the question of Western Sahara because of their "economic commitments towards Morocco". "Even with unequal strength, we will continue our struggle with the help of all those who are convinced of the justice of the Saharawi cause", concluded one of the founders of the Observatory for the referendum in Western Sahara founded in 1998 in the French National Assembly. On his return from the Saharawi refugee camps, Pierre Richard made the following
statement.

10.07.01
British House of Commons
Jenny Tonge MP, a UK Liberal Democrat parliamentarian accused the British Government of confusion during oral Foreign Affairs questions in the House of Commons regarding two contradictory written answers by the Government on 4th and 5th July 2001 to Menzies Campbell MP.
In his response, the new British minister responsible for Africa, Ben Bradshaw MP stated that the Security Council resolution " reiterates full support for the on-going efforts of the United Nation's mission to implement the settlement plan, and for agreements adopted by the parties to hold a free, fair and impartial referendum for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara"
At the same time, Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour) asked the Government to provide assurances that there would be no new arms sales to Morocco until the situation in Western Sahara has been resolved.  Ben Bradshaw MP stated that he could not provide this assurance  

11.07.01
A Venezuela-SADR parliamentary friendship group has been set up in Caracas.

13-14.07.01
The Algerian President Bouteflika paid a visit to the USA, where he met President Bush. According to the Financial Times the main subjects on the agenda were international terrorism and the proposed UN Framework-Agreement on Western Sahara. The Polisario Front, supported by Algeria, rejected this proposal, and the Americans, according to the British daily, are putting pressure on Algeria to change its position. According to Allafrica.com Bouteflika said he opposes the plan "because it tries to circumvent the issue of self-determination for Western Saharans." He said Algeria will attend the next round of the Houston talks between Morocco and the Polisario but will not be directly involved the negotiations.

SOLIDARITY

Spain: vacaciones en paz. Like every year about 8000 children from the refugee camps will spend the summer in Spain.

Spain, 13.07.01 Villarrobledo (Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha): La Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Villarrobledo celebra la Semana de la Solidaridad con este Pueblo. A las 8 de la tarde se celebrará un recorrido urbano para todas las edades bajo el lema "Por el Pueblo Saharaui, XXV Aniversario de la República Árabe Saharaui Democrática"

14.07.01, Madrid: Fiesta de solidaridad con el pueblo saharaui. Actuaciones de Payasos sin Fronteras, grupos de teatro infantil, marionetas,...para los niños saharauis que pasan sus vacaciones de verano con familias españolas

USA: As part of The Children of Western Sahara Summer Sponsorship Program, twenty-four Saharawi refugee children arrived Wednesday, Jun 27 to Chicago's O'Hare airport. Afterwards, they traveled to different states were they will be staying with their host families.

COMING UP...

Self-Determination Denied: The end of the UN Peace Plan for Western Sahara? Parliamentary Public Meeting, Monday 16th July at 7.00pm Commitee Room 3.  Convened by Lord Redesdale.
For further information contact Western Sahara Campaign at
wsc@gn.apc.org or + 44 (0) 113 245 4786

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