WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 46

11.-17.11.2001

Liberation of Mohamed Daddach and all political prisoners sentenced by Morocco
10.11.01: The Saharawi population of El Ayoun gave a particularly warm and moving welcome for Mohamed Daddach and the other liberated Saharawi political prisoners. Welcomed at the entrance to the town by about fifty cars, the motorcade set off for the meeting place where a ceremony was held under close police surveillance. Daddach expressed thanks for the support which had been given him as well as the other detainees. He called on the UN to organise the referendum. Other detainees as well as representatives of Saharawi human rights organisations spoke. Their speeches were punctuated by slogans chanted in favour of the right to self-determination. A similar ceremony took place in Smara on 13 November. (Speech of the Action Committee for the liberation of M Daddach and all Saharawi prisoners,
french)(Communiqué AFAPREDESA, 13.11.01, spanish )

13.11.01
56th Ordinary Session of the UN General Assembly
During a general debate, several speakers brought up the question of Western Sahara. Mauritania "supports the efforts of the Secretary General and his personal envoy, James Baker, towards finding a definitive solution which would ensure stability in the region and which would benefit from the agreement of all the parties."
Algeria denounced the obstacles to the implementation of the referendum, in particular the appeals lodged by Morocco, and asked the parties to complete the referendum process and the UN to respect its commitments.
The Namibian representative said:  « History teaches us that no "Administrative Power" has relinquished authority as a gesture of good will .(...) No amount of difficulties can justify an abandonment of the United Nations Settlement Plan for Western Sahara. (...) Namibia will disassociate itself with any plan, informal or otherwise, to deny the Saharawi people their legitimate right to express themselves through a free, fair and impartial referendum for their self-determination. »
Angola thinks it is necessary to seek a solution acceptable to both parties, allowing barriers to be surmounted to the  implementation of a plan to resolve the conflict, and Panama insisted on the respect of the right to self-determination and on resolving the problem through dialogue.  (UN)

12-16.11.01
Danielle Mitterrand
After her journey around the Saharawi refugee camps, Danielle Mitterrand arrived in Morocco, in order to meet in Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech the Moroccan partners of her foundation, France Libertés in the fields of development, education and human rights.
She had the intention of finishing her trip in El Ayoun, capital of Western Sahara, so she could contact Saharawi human rights activists.
Her commitment to the Saharawi people and against Moroccan annexation of Western Sahara provoked defensive action, while in El Ayoun the Saharawi militants were preparing a warm welcome for her. A hysterical, defamatory and dishonest campaign was orchestrated by the media, going so far as the front page headline: "The Polisario mole".
Moroccan settlers in Western Sahara as well as pro-Moroccan Saharawis were mobilised by a "Committee to ban the visit of the said Danielle Mitterrand to Laayoune", which launched a petition and planned a sit-in at El Ayoun airport, in order to forbid the president of France Libertés " to sully the sacred soil of Laayoune".
A delegation comprising the wali of El Ayoun, Khalihenna ould Rachid, the defector, Hakim Ibrahim  and other pro-Moroccan Saharawi notables, met Mrs Mitterrand in Marrakech for four hours to try to dissuade her from continuing her trip and to convince her to go back on her declarations, which "attack the dignity of the Moroccan people and the sacred territorial unity of Morocco".
After the renewal of agitation in the occupied territories provoked by activity in favour of the Saharawi detainees, social problems and the commemoration of the uprising of 1999, damning testimonies appearing in the Spanish press on the precarious  situation of the Saharawi population, and the popular welcome for the liberated political prisoners, it was necessary at any price to prevent another testimony. On 16 November, the Moroccan authorities forbad the president of France-Libertés from embarking on a flight to El Ayoun.
The European parliamentary intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi people" deplored this measure calling it "an act of censorship and intolerance".

13.11.01
UN -
S/2001/1067
In a letter to the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-general asks for a technical extension of the MINURSO mandate for 2 months, through 31 January 2002, because the consultations of his Personal Envoy are still continuing. He will submit his report "in good time before the date".(Letter dated 12 November 2001 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council -
PDF) - HTML)

13.11.01
Spanish-Moroccan crisis
Ignacio Cembrero, in El Pais on 11.11 reveals certain aspects of the crisis provoked by Morocco. The Belgian EU presidency  at the request of MEP Isidoro Sanchez, had drawn up the European position on the question of the Sahara with a view to the discussions of the UN 4th Commission. The French Embassy at the United Nations suggested another text, which did not mention the referendum and simply supported the autonomy plan. Spanish diplomats and representatives of European countries at the UN refused to be manipulated by France. It was the original text which was then submitted to the 4th commission, provoking the ire of Morocco against Spain. Spain continues to persist in a steadfast position of support to the UN and is astonished at the partiality of France, which takes a Moroccan line, thus preventing a common position for the EU.
Subsequently, in his speech to the UN General Assembly, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs denounced the occupation of Ceuta and Melilla by Spain. In response his Spanish counterpart declared that the Sahara is "a historical claim of Moroccan nationalism which Spain will never share".
Returning fire the Moroccan No 2 , Taieb Fassi-Fihri, demanded of Spain "a clear position of effective and sincere support" for the UN autonomy plan.

On the level of internal politics, the president of the Canarian Socialist party, Senator Jerónimo Saavedra, ex-minister from the governments of Felipe González, declared himself in favour of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, believing it is better to have a stable political regime which enjoys an American guarantee than an unstable regime with the risk of fundamentalism and missiles installed on the coast (facing the Canaries).
These declarations aroused numerous reactions, among them the Asociación Canaria de Solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui which noted that nothing indicated up until the present, that a Moroccan government would provide democracy or the respect of human rights or the economic interests of the Canaries.
These declarations were orchestrated by the Moroccan government to distort reality, influence public opinion in Spain and sell the message that the only solution to the conflict is integration with Morocco, Carmelo Ramirez said. He is vice-president of the Canaries Government. The Ligue Pro Derechos Humanos, for its part criticised the ambiguous position of the  PSOE on the question of the Sahara.

14.11.01
Madrid Accords
The 26th anniversary of the tripartite Madrid Accords gave rise to actions and expression of views:

- In Switzerland a petition was handed in to the Spanish Embassy in Bern, signed by the two  committees of support to the Saharawi people and four NGOs. It calls the former colonial power to assume its responsibility in relation to its colony abandoned in 1975, to cancel/terminate the Accords and to contribute actively to the holding of the referendum. (Press statement french/spanish)

- The Polisario Front representatives in Switzerland and with the UN pubished a statement (french) likewise the national Spanish Coordination of associations of solidarity with the Saharawi people (Comunicado de la Coordinadora estatal de asociaciones de solidaridad y amistad con el pueblo saharaui )

14.11.01
Military manoeuvres
The Saharawi army proceeded with military manoeuvres near Tifariti, in the liberated territories of SADR. The seventh since the beginning of the year, these manoeuvres took place in the presence of the president Mohamed Abdelaziz. An attack on an enemy in a defensive situation was simulated.

15.11.01
ICRC
In El Ayoun a delegate from the ICRC met from 2-6 November 24 former Polisario Front soldiers whose whereabouts are being sought.  One of them was seen on 7 November in a place of detention near Casablanca. Following the repatriation of 201Moroccan prisoners on 14 December 2000, a list of 179 Saharawi war veterans was given to the president of ICRC. The fate of over 150 persons, gone missing between 1975 and 1991 remains to be clarified. Furthermore, over 800 combattants from the Moroccan armed forces are sought and 1479 Moroccan prisoners captured between 1975 and 1991 are still held in camps in the Tindouf region.(
Press statement )

Sweden
The 34th congress of the Swedish social-democratic party declared itself in favour of the referendum of self-determination and asks Sweden and the European Union to put pressure on Morocco to make it cooperate fully with the UN.
The Swedish government is called upon to act in a letter to the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs on 13 November. The Green Party, The Left Party, The Christian Democratic Party, The Center Youth, The Liberal Youth, The Left Youth, several members of the European Parliament and of the Swedish Parliament representing different political parties and a number of NGOs urge the Swedish government to act internationally for the implementation of the peace plan and an immediate holding of the referendum. The government is also requested to act against the exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara, to act for an immediate increase of  international humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugees and to act for the defence of human rights in the occupied territory of Western Sahara. The letter is initiated by Afrikagrupperna, Föreningen Västsahara and Saharabulletinen.

15.11.01
European Parliament
Addressing a human rights parliamentary delegation in Strasbourg, Plaid Cymru MEP for Wales Eurig Wyn, who has himself visited the country, said:
"We could soon see the break out of hostilities in Western Sahara unless urgent diplomatic initiatives succeed. The sole demand being made by the Saharawi people is that they be allowed to vote on their country's future status. This is a democratic right they should be allowed in line with previous decisions of the UN Security Council."

17.11.01
Last minute
In Smara violent clashes opposed demonstrating Saharawis to the police. (The Sahrawis are organising since weeks sit-ins in front of official buildings asking for better life conditions). The BERDHSO announces 4 seriously wounded people and mentions the names of 8 arrested. The HR organisation appeals to send protests to UN Secretary-general and the Moroccan minister of Interior (
communiqué BERDHSO). In the same time the Saharawi national radio announced that the activists of the Forum Vérité et Justice Sahara had been informed of a decision to freeze its activities as a consequence of the manifestations hold around the liberation of the political prisoners.

SOLIDARITY

Sevilla, 17 de Noviembre: Reincidentes y la Asociación Provincial de Amistad con el Pueblo saharaui de Sevilla organiza en el campo de fútbol de la Alameda de Hércules, en Sevilla, un concierto de Rock en solidaridad con el pueblo saharaui, con los grupos:Spttle dog, Narco, Reincidentes.

Oviedo, 09.11.01: Más de 200 personas clamaron el por los derechos del Sahara Occidental en una concentración frente al Teatro Campoamor. Uno de los motivos de esta concentración reside en el aniversario de la firma de los acuerdos tripartitos de Madrid el 14 de noviembre de 1975. No faltaron tampoco las consignas contras los últimos episodios desencadenados por el monarca alauí, Mohamed VI, en su visita a este territorio que enfrenta a Marruecos y el Frente Polisario desde 1975.

Le Havre, France: L'ONG "Un Camion Citerne pour les Sahraouis" a interpellé M. Lionel Jospin, Premier Ministre, sur l'accord conclu entre Total Fina Elf et l'ONAREP sur les propections pétrolières au Sahara Occidental ; cette protestation a été adressé également à trois députés locaux.

Navarre, 13.11.01: l'université publique de a accordé deux bourses à des étudiants du Sahara Occidental ou du Kurdistan pour l'année universitaire 2001-2002.

PROCHAINEMENT

Madrid, Miércoles 21 de noviembre a las 18.30 horas: CONCENTRACION FRENTE AL MUSEO DEL PRADO (Bulevar Pza de Neptuno) Sahara en el corazón. POR UN REFERENDUM JUSTO, LIBRE Y TRANSPARENTE. Iniciativa popular legislativa: "Paz y libertad para el pueblo saharaui". Entrega de 500.000 firmas en el Parlamento. Entrega de las 500.000 firmas recogidas en la iniciativa popular "Paz y Libertad para el Pueblo Saharaui"

Albacete: A propósito del aniversario de la firma de los acuerdos tripartitos de Madrid en 1975, que provocaron el éxodo del pueblo saharaui, la Asociación de Amigos de estos refugiados ha organizado una serie de actos, que darán comienzo hoy miércoles, 14 de noviembre, a las 8 de la tarde, en el salón de actos de la Diputación Provincial, con la conferencia titulada Historias del Sahara, que correrá a cargo de Alejandro García, profesor de Historia de la Universidad de Murcia.El próximo acto será una cena-encuentro con todos aquellos que se muestran a favor de la causa saharaui. La cena se celebrará el 23 de noviembre, a las 9 de la noche, en el Hotel Universidad.

Bologna, 30.11.01: Presso il Centro Zonarelli, in Via Vezza/Via Sacco 14, alle ore 20, Cena Saharawi. Con documentazione e proiezione video. L'incasso della serata servirà per acquistare un elettrocardiografo per l'ospedale di Smara che sarà portato ai campi profughi dai partecipanti al viaggio dal 23/2 al 2/3 2002 in occasione della II Maratona del Sahara. Per prenotazioni ( £. 30.000 ; i bambini non pagano) telefonare entro il 28-11-2001 a: Claudia 051 368454 o Leo 338 1460228 Associazione "El Ouali" Bologna. http://www.saharawi .org / elouali@saharawi.org

VOLS CHARTER - VUELOS CHARTER - CHARTER FLIGHTS

 

INFORMATION SAHARA MARATHON 2002 - 25.02.2002

Sahara Marathon International
7799 Leesburg Pike , Suite 900N
Falls Church, VA 22043
Telephone: 703-969-0049
e-mail:
info@saharamarathon.org
Sahara Marathon USA
Dr. George Wortley
1398 Tolley Meadow Rd.
Big Island, VA 24526
Telephone: 434 299-5819, Fax: 434 299-5642
e-mail:
usa@saharamarathon.org
Sahara Marathon Spain
E. Sánchez
Pez, 27, 1° Dcha. 28004 MADRID
Telefonos: 915 218 487 y 629 765 766
Fax: 915 218 487
e-mail:
spain@saharamarathon.org

Vuelo charter de Madrid : 23.02.02

Sahara Marathon Germany
Dr. Holger and Ulrike Finkernagel
Postrasse 15 57379, Badberleburg GERMANY
Telefon: 02751-459 or 02751-4119941
or 0175 541 8238 ,Fax: 02751-928185
e-mail:
germany@saharamarathon.org

Charter Flug ab Frankfurt :24.2.2002 - 28.2.2002

Sahara Marathon Italy
e-mail:
italy@saharamarathon.org - mdurli@saharawi.org - celestegroup@tin.it
tel. 338/1460228 / Ass.Celeste Group - tel. 051-504162- 6336371

Per la 2° edizione della SaharaMarathon , l'associazione El Ouali Bologna e l'associazione Celeste Group rispettivamente promuovono e coordinano in Italia l'organizzazione della SaharaMarathon, in collaborazione con le Associazioni Jaima Saharawi di Reggio Emilia, Kabara Lagdaf di Modena, Comitato di solidarietà di Ferrara, Comitato di solidarietà di Rimini, con il patrocinio del Comune di Bologna e della Regione Emilia- Romagna.
Viaggio Bologna-Tindouf-Bologna: 23/2/2002 - 2/3/2002
web :
http://www.saharawi.org/Maratona/default.htm

Sahara Marathon Portugal
Mr. Luis and Rute Sousa
e-mail:
portugal@saharamarathon.org

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