MOROCCO - USA
Military manoeuvres were organised in the 7th military region (Aguenit), in the presence of Mohamed Abdelaziz, Saharawi state and army representatives, and representatives of the Saharawi community in Mauritania and the nomadic community of the region, who met for a conference in the afternoon. Three tactical groupings formed by armoured units and a mechanised regiment supported by artillery and the Anti-Aircraft-Defense carried out combined manoeuvres. They simulated an attack on portions of defensive walls modeled on those installed by Morocco. (SPS)
A Saharawi delegation led by Zenan Mohamed Brahim, Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took part in the 25th session of the OAU Commission on work and social affairs, which finished its work on 21 April 2002 in Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso) after 5 days of intense debate. In the document on employment and poverty in Africa and on the point referring to armed conflicts in Africa the armed conflict between Morocco and SADR figures, the longest-running conflict of the continent. These amendements, presented by the Saharawi delegation were adopted by the ministerial meeting of the OAU.
Death of an ex-prisoner
Malainine Ould Ali Ould Boudjemaa, a former political detainee, sentenced in 1998 to 3 months' prison for having taken part in demonstrations in Lemseyed, died from complications of an infection contracted in prison. These demonstrations brought together several hundred people, who demanded the right to self-determination and national independence for the Saharawi people, as well as the release of Saharawi political prisoners. The demonstrators brandishing Saharawi Republic flags burnt a Moroccan flag. (see week12/1998).
The United Nations Secretary General received Mhamed Khadad, Polisario Front coordinator with MINURSO, who handed him a message from the President of SADR relating to the latest developments on the question of Western Sahara on the eve of the Security Council debate on the options presented last February by James Baker.
A draft resolution favouring the framework-agreement was presented by the USA to the "Group of friends of the secretary general for Western Sahara" charged with counseling Kofi Annan, composed of the USA, France, Britain, Russia and Spain. Russia and Spain having refused to support this proposal, the USA then presented the proposal to the Security Council in their own name. It proposes to mandate James Baker to prepare a framework-agreement (pseudo-autonomy) without seeking the agreement of both parties, to present it to the Council who would present it to the parties as non-negotiable.
The Security Council met to discuss the Secretary General's report S/2002/467,(PDF or HTML)and the draft resolution of the US, now supported by France, Great Britain, Guinea and Bulgaria.
According to diplomatic circles, the surprising American move was motivated by wanting to defend the stability of the Moroccan monarchy, to pursue cooperation between Moroccan and American secret services on anti-terrorism and by the oil interests at stake. It should be known that the Bush family and Condoleezza Rice itself have interests in the Texan companies.
The Spanish government, which declared itself surprised by the American position, remains attached to the settlement plan and refuses any solution imposed by force, which would create a climate of instability in the region. It is favourable to a technical extension of the mandate of MINURSO to allow a more carefully considered decision to be taken. Its ambassador to the United Nations declared that within the Council there was not a clear majority in favour of any one of the three options.
On Friday 26 a group of experts from the Council met but reached no result. The group of 5 states favourable to the US proposal is using the argument of the resignation of Baker if the framework-agreement proposal is abandoned.
The Security Council will make its decision on 30 April 2002. (Press, agencies)
Ahmed Boukhari, PF representative in the UN, is said to have stated that he hopes that the Council will not go beyond a technical resolution, in order to give the time necessary to examine other ways. If the autonomy option is retained, which is very unlikely, the Polisario Front will withdraw from negotiations.(Spanish press)
Brahim Ghali, PF representative in Spain, believes that "if the Council opts for autonomy, we will demand the immediate withdrawal of MINURSO. We will consider that we are no longer held to respect the cease-fire." (Spanish press)
Mohamed Sidati, in a written statement (Spanish), denounces "the intolerable blackmail and inadmissible pressure" consisting in saying that the mission of James Baker would be compromised if the framework-agreement proposal is not accepted. "The Polisario Front would see itself obliged to reconsider relations of cooperation and collaboration with MINURSO, in the case where it was given a mission other than that of organising a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people." The minister delegate for Europe reaffirmed that the Polisario Front remains attached to the Settlement Plan and refuses the framework-agreement totally.
In a statement dated 26 (French), the national secretariat of the Polisario Front declares that the "Security Council has, with an overwhelming majority (10 votes against 5), expressed its preference for the implementation of the settlement plan." The secretariat denounces blackmail by the minority on the Council, who want to impose the framework-agreement claiming that "if the Secretary General's Personal Envoy does not obtain a clear mandate from the Security Council to impose on the Saharawi people a solution based on pseudo-autonomy, he would have no other choice but to bring his mission to an end." The Polisario Front "vigorously rejects these unacceptable threats and will never give in to any blackmail or diktat aimed at imposing on it the solution of the framework-agreement which is illegal, unjust and aims at by-passing the will of the Saharawi people to decide freely their destiny in strict conformity with the doctrine of the United Nations concerning decolonisation."
In a letter sent to the president of the Security Council, the Algerian delegate at the UN believes that the American recommendation deliberately ignores the interest shown by several UN delegations in the proposal for the partition of the Sahara, which figures in the Secretary General's report of 19 February last. ACH-CHARK AL-AWSAT (Saudi-Arabian)
The president of the European Coordination for the support of the Saharawi people sent a letter to the Secretary General, while the French Association of Friends of SADR, (AARASD), France Libertés, the Italian Association of solidarity with the Saharawi people , and others wrote to the president of the Security Council.
Members of the European Parliament Ad Hoc Delegation for Western Sahara met to discuss the numerous amendments to the draft report of the president, Mme Lalumière.It was alleged to favour the framework-agreement ( (see press statements of M. Kessler and Polisario UK). It will not be presented to the EP Foreign Affairs Committee until 30 May, in order not to interfere with the Security Council debate.
MOROCCO - USA
Eight members of the American Congress sent a letter to President Bush, on the eve of the arrival in the USA of the King of Morocco. The parliamentarians, who pronounced themselves firmly against any idea of autonomy, stress the necessity of a referendum in Western Sahara, in conformity with international law, and ask Bush to speak to the King in order to make Morocco allow the vote to take place. A letter in the same sense was sent on 22 to the American president by the US-Western Sahara Foundation.
Trial of the Smara group
14 Saharawis, held since November 2001, were sentenced by the Court of Appeal of El Ayoun to sentences from 6 to 24 months' prison for "disturbances in public order". The trial took place from 9 am until 4 am the following morning. The accused were defended by 12 barristers 9 of whom were Saharawi. 250 people attended the trial including Mohamed Daddach and Saharawi human rights defenders, representatives of AMDH, MINURSO, various Moroccan army and police bodies, as well as the Moroccan and international press. Two Spanish lawyers, Cristina Navarro and José Manuel Delafuente, were present but did not have the right to speak. 11 people were sentenced to two years in closed prison, including a Moroccan, for "disobedience, use of force against public force, intentional setting alight of public transport vehicles and of non-residential premises, carrying arms, destruction of documents belonging to the public forces". Five others including a Moroccan got 6 months' prison and a fine of 500 DH for "disobedience, use of force against public force and carrying arms". Three of the accused were acquitted, including the Moroccan journalist, Darif. Two other Saharawis, Dimaoui Abdeslam and Nassiri Hamidi, are still sought by the police. (BIRDHSO statement, French )
25.04.02, Madrid: Creación de la Red de mujeres europeas y latinoamericanas en apoyo al pueblo saharaui. Más información: email@example.com, tel: 6220.127.116.11.
Helsinki, Finland: photo exhibition "Africa 2002"
Thousands of people has visited different activities about Africa and its history, people and culture. The Polisario representative for the Nordic Countries Mr Yahiaoui Lamine has made a speech about the Saharawi people and its struggle for the basic respect of right of self-determination. «Time is not for the race of tension and provocations but for the respect of right of existence and the solution of a major problem on basis of the respect of the international legality. The independence of East-Timor is a strong example of the fact that the justice ultimately will prevail, what ever time might take "no deadline for the triumph of justice"», said Mr Lamine.
Carta para evitar la ilegítima explotación petrolífera del Sahara para que si lo estimais oportuno le déis la máxima difusión posible: A.A.P.Saharaui Albacete: firstname.lastname@example.org .
30.04.02, New York: Réunion du Conseil de sécurité pour l'adoption d'une résolution sur le Sahara Occidental.
05-06.05.02, Maroc: Le pèlerinage prévu les 5 et 6 mai prochains au tristement célèbre bagne de Kalaat M'Gouna a été interdit par les autorités. La visite est reportée aux 1er et 2 juin. Selon un membre du Forum Vérité et Justice préférant garder l'anonymat, les autorités craignent une exploitation politique de la manifestation, «ce bagne ayant accueilli de nombreux prisonniers sahraouis». (As-Sahifa Al-Ousbouiya, 26.04.02).
Italia: Viaggio Bologna-Tindouf-Bologna
«Una partita di calcio sotto il cielo del SAHARA» Un gruppo amici del mondo della musica e dello spettacolo, ha avuto la temeraria idea di unirsi alla squadra di Rock No War per disputare una partita di calcio nei campi dei rifugiati del Sahara occidentale con la Nazionale Saharawi. Hanno accettato di offrire la loro notoriete il loro entusiasmo per portare una speranza di pace e sotto i riflettori di stampa e televisioni evidenziare non solo i contorni ma la storia vera e la voce di questo popolo.»
Per informazioni e adesioni contattare: ROCK NO WAR ONLUS: Simona Gibellini - Tel. 059-558721 // 338-6129374, e-mail: email@example.com
Ass. di "Kabara Lagdaf" (Modena): Stefania Contri - Tel.347-6564618, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sito web: http://www.rocknowar.it
24.05.02, Brussels: International Conference on rights and duties relating to the protection of the natural resources of the occupied territories of Western Sahara. Programme and reply formulary : Contact : email@example.com
26, 27 et 28 october 2002, Napoli, Italy: 28th EUCOCO Conference.
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]
To receive the Weekly news by e-mail
Click here to subscribe