19. - 26.01.2002
Saharawi manifestants sentenced
Official visit of president Abdelaziz to Cuba
Oil exploration contracts
J. Baker on mission
14 Saharawis sentenced in Goulimine
After more than four months in police custody, 14 Saharawis (including five women) were sentenced to fines of 2000 dirhams and loss of their civic rights for 2 months. Two other people were acquitted. They had demonstrated in Assrir in favour of the liberation of political prisoners in Western Sahara (week 41). (SPS)
Official visit to Cuba
The Saharawi president Mohamed Abdelaziz carried out an official visit to Cuba, accompanied by a delegation comprising ministers of Foreign affairs, Education and Culture. Mohamed Abdelaziz had talks with Fidel Castro. He visited various scholastic centres and universities where Saharawi students pursue their studies (Latino-American School of Medical Sciences, ''Isla de la Juventud'', international school of physical education in Cojimar).
The Cuban Minister of Health, Mr Carlos Dotres, pointed out in an interview in Granma that "from 1977 until the present day over 477 Cuban doctors have worked in SADR", adding that over 300 Saharawi specialists in the area of health have graduated from Cuba, and over 120 others are training in other specialities. (SPS)
On the occasion of the official visit of President Meles Zenawi in Algeria, Ethiopia and Algeria reaffirmed in a joint statement their support for the UN peace plan and called for the organisation of the referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people. (SPS)
Morocco - freedom of the press
23.01.02 The French dailies Liberation of 22.01 and Le Monde of 19.01 were banned from distribution in Moroccan kiosks because of an article concerning the royal family, the spending spree of the King's brother, Moulay Rachid, on holiday in Acapulco, Mexico.
24.01.02 The British journalist Nick Pelham was forbidden to enter Moroccan territory, for a 24-hour reporting visit on immigration. The former BBC correspondent in Morocco from October 1998 to February 2001, Nick Pelham had already been expelled once in June 1999 (week 25). His articles which can be critical are not appreciated. In both cases Reporters Sans Frontières protested to the Moroccan Minister of the Interior.
On the contrary, the censors allowed to pass "the southern provinces [..] a territory over which international law does not recognise Moroccan sovereignty." (Le Journal hebdomadaire, nº45)
The chief executive of Kerr-McGee, Luke Corbett, was received by Mohamed VI, to whom he presented the activities of his group and announced the opening of a permanent office in Rabat.
It is in mid-February that we should hear the opinion of the UN on whether the contracts signed by Morocco with Kerr-McGee and TotalFinaElf, concerning reconnaissance for off-shore oil on the Western Sahara coast conform with international law.
According to the Madrid daily, El Pais, the SG's personal envoy for Western Sahara, James Baker, is alleged to have stayed in Rabat in order to explore a different solution from the Framework-Agreement proposed at the talks in Pinedale. In a statement to Europapress the same day, the Spanish representative of the Polisario Front did not exclude the possibility of a Baker-Polisario Front meeting before mid-February.
- 02.02.02, Le Mans, France: award of the insignia of Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite to Régine Villemont, general secretary of the French association of friends of SADR (AARASD).
- 9 to 16 February 2002: «Viaje solidario» a los campamentos de refugiados saharauis, organizado por la Asociación de Amigos del Sahara de Asturias. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 27.02.02, Geneva, Switzerland: 26th anniversary of SADR, reception organised by the Swiss committee of support to the Saharawi people, from 19 h., Forum, Hôtel Le Grenil, 9, avenue Ste Clotilde, 1205 Genève-Jonction.
- 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31 March 2002: Charter flight to the Saharawi refugee camps.
Delegación saharaui en la Comunidad de Madrid y Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Madrid. Info: email@example.com
- 29.-31.03.02 (new dates): 4th Congress of the National Union of Saharawi Women (NUSW) Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
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