WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

Hommage to an absent friend

Mohamed Fadel ould Ismaïl ould Es-Sweyih, alias Fadel Ismaïl, representative of the Polisario Front for Great Britain and Ireland, died suddenly at his home in London on the night of 5 to 6 May 2002, following an asthma crisis and a heart attack.
We have lost a very dear friend and a precious partner in our work of news and information. We have always appreciated his independence of mind, the perspicacity of his analyses, and his indefatigable energy in defending the Saharawi cause. His constant encouragement helped us in our aim of making known, in a commited way, but as objectively as possible, this people who were so dear to him and for whom he sacrificed his life.
Through his numerous writings, he remains an important witness of the struggle of the Saharawis for independence. We hope that his last book, nearing completion, "Lettre à mon frère marocain" (Letter to my Moroccan Brother), will be published soon.

See our page of links to some of his publications on line on: http://www.arso.org/fadel_biblio.htm

Messages of condolence send by email on : http://www.arso.org/fadelcondol.htm

Short Biography:
Born in the fifties, Mohamed Fadel Ismaïl from 1972 became part of the embryonic organisation, which gave birth to the Polisario Front on 10 May 1973. With others, he was arrested, tortured and imprisoned during the demonstrations in Tan-Tan.
From 1975, he was a member of the Front's Information Committee and became noticed as a journalist. He became the editor of the review "20 May" then editor in chief of the newspaper "Sahara Libre".
In 1981 he represented the Polisario Front in Europe, then in France and in Sweden for some years.
Subsequently he took on several posts within the Polisario and SADR, counselor to the presidency, responsible for various diplomatic missions, political counselor to the Saharawi Commission for the Referendum, etc.
From November 1995 to February 1999 he was the Polisario Front representative in France.
From February until September 1999 he occupied the post of Minister of Information, and in this role set up the press agency Sahara Press Service.
From 1999 until 2001 he was ambassador in Ethiopia and permanent representative of SADR with the OAU.
From November 2001 until his death he was representative for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Fadel Ismaïl was married and father of 6 children.

WEEK 19

05.-11.05.2002

SADR
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
REFERENDUM
SOLIDARITY
COMING UP
INTERNET
NEW PUBLICATIONS

SADR

07.05.02
The Presidency of the Republic declared 10 of May (29th aniversary of the foundation of the Polisario Front) as a day of national mourning for the Saharawi people. (SPS)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

07.05.02
El Ayoun
The governor of the province of El Ayoun, Guerraoui, presented to the press his proposal to absorb unemployment in Western Sahara: construction of six fishing villages, creation of 6,000 new jobs thanks to 1,000 fishing boats made available to unemployed Saharawis.
A journalist from the Spanish daily El Mundo talked to members of the Association of Saharawi unemployed. "This is all very well, its president commented, but the problem is that we are graduates in business management and we know nothing about fishing." The vice-president of the association stated that none of their members has accepted the governor's proposition, which they call "death boats". "It is a plan whose political intention is clear, he said, firstly they take us away to fishing villages, and then, when we come to realise we cannot make a living from this activity, they will let us emigrate to the Canaries." The unemployed feel themselves to be discriminated against "there are only 2% of Saharawis in the administration, and Moroccans occupy 86-88% of available jobs. To the Saharawi graduates they are offering boats so that they can commit suicide", a local activist added.
For the Moroccan authorities, fishing, construction and other programs will provide 13,610 jobs by 2004. Governor Guerraoui estimates that Morocco has invested over 1,000 million dollars (1,123 million euros). But, Javier Espinosa adds, in El Ayoun you can find poor areas such as the Unity camps (50,000 people), Mssalla, Lahuham, or Dir-aidak, where dozens of Saharawi families live in tin huts. Out of 200,000 inhabitants of El Ayoun only 60,000 are Saharawis. (El Mundo)

08.05.02
Dakhla
According to officials of the Association of owners of small scale fishing boats in Dakhla, 6,000 "clandestine" embarcations compete with 5,759 registered boats operating in the area. Officials of the association accuse a mafia of operating in the whole zone, with the knowledge of the authorities.

10.05.02
El Ayoun
The Saharawi community organized a religious ceremony in memory of the late Mohamed Fadel Ismail.
Just before 8 a.m., Moroccan agents went to the residence of known Saharawi activists to prevent them from taking part in the ceremony.
Participants in the ceremony - who came in motorcades to pay homage to Fadel Ismail - decided at the last minute to change the first meeting place due to the presence of a significant concentration of Moroccan security forces there, and to move to a newly assigned place, on the outskirts of the city, to perform the ceremony.
The prayer service was pronounced by the imam in the presence of 200 mourners, including members of Mohamed Fadel Ismail's family, surrounded by heavy police contingents which dispersed the crowd around 4 p.m. Police confiscated some of the mourners' cars and three activists detained before the ceremony had started , under pretext of violation of the highway code, were later released.
This interference with the religious ceremony is considered by the mourners to be a serious violation of their most elementary rights and allows one to predict, according to observers, an intensification of repression against those citizens whose pro-independence convictions are well known. (corr.)

REFERENDUM

02.05.02
The Moroccan government daily, Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki launched an appeal for Morocco to revise the Friendship and Good Neighbour Treaty with Spain, in retaliation against the Spanish decision not to support the pseudo-autonomy proposal for Western Sahara.

03.05.02
''There is no reason to change the traditional position of Spain on Western Sahara", the head of the Spanish executive, José Maria Aznar, affirmed in Washington, underlining that his country maintains its "support for the current UN Settlement Plan for the organisation of a referendum".

04.05.02
Aznar, who met George Bush in Camp David on the occasion of the traditional EU-USA meeting, explained to the American president the Spanish position on Western Sahara. He asked him not only to listen to the voice of Rabat but also to that of the other parties involved.

08.05.02
Congressman Joseph Pitts declared himself before the Congress "deeply diturbed" by the American turn around which throws away the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination. "When our country no longer cares about the right for, self-determination, a right on which our Nation was founded, it is a sad day, indeed."

SPAIN

07.05.02
Congress of Deputies
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Miquel Nadal, made a speech to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress on the position of his government on the question of Western Sahara. According to him, it would be a mistake to believe that this position could change following the withdrawal of the Moroccan Ambassador. Nadal recalled that the referendum remains the only settlement formula accepted by all the parties. He conceded that this way involves "problems of implementation", due to "a certain lack of collaboration by Morocco" and that as time passes it becomes more difficult each time to determine the electoral body.
Spain supports any alternative to the peace plan at all, including autonomy, provided it is accepted by the parties, . According to Nadal, the solution is to be sought "fundamentally at the level of the Maghreb". It must respect the dignity of the Saharawi people and take account of the need to ensure regional stability. "The international community has an important role to play in supporting but not imposing solutions", he said.
During the debate which followed, Nadal mentioned the particular fact that the Saharawi people claim a territory which they does not occupy and which is subject to a "growing occupation" by Moroccan citizens. "We need to take account of this element in the final solution and at the time of implementing the referendum", he added. Nadal also expressed the hope that the next summit of the Union of the Arab Maghreb which will be held at the end of June, will be able to be an "indirect" way of contributing to the solution of the dispute.
Various political groups expressed their unanimous support for the government position, even if the PSOE distanced itself from Nadal's diagnosis and warned that the Sahara would only be a short term principal problem for Spanish external policy.
Concerning Algeria, Nadal declared that this country is insisting more on the importance of ensuring regional stability in the Maghreb, an attitude which could make more flexible the maximalist position of the parties to the conflict.

SOLIDARITY

03.05.02
Carmelo Ramirez, president of FEDISSAH, the State Federation of Institutions of Solidarity with the Sahara, announced that in 16 autonomous Spanish communities there would be symbolic referendums before the end of May, on the model of the voting which happened in Andalusia last year. The action would take place over about twenty days. (La Provincia)

04.05.02
Leaving on 23 April last from Portsmouth (UK) via Spain and Algeria, the 8th convoy of the "Rainbow Rovers" arrived in the refugee camps after a seven day trip. "We have taken on the commitment to continue this initiative as a sign of solidarity with the Saharawi people and to perpetuate the memory of the late Lord Winchelsea", the leader of the convoy, Ron Laybourne said, during the official ceremony of handing over the keys of the vehicles of the caravan which carried medicines, food, educational material and spare parts for the vehicles.(SPS)

07.05.02
The Minister for Cooperation, Salek Baba Hacena, received in the wilaya of Smara an Italian delegation from the province of Emilio Romagna of over 120 people. Among them the musical group "Modena City Ramblers", which staged a show at the "Club Zemla" in the wilaya on the theme "Rock not War", and two teams of football and volleyball, which played against local Saharawi teams in these two sports. (SPS)

09.05.02
New Zealand - Australia
An awareness raising campaign on the question of Western Sahara, the situation in the Saharawi refugee camps and the occupied zones of Western Sahara is taking place this month in Australia and New Zealand under the auspices of the Australia-Western Sahara Association with their guest, Fatima Mahfoud from the National Union of Saharawi Women.

COMING UP...

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 : sahraoui.comite@oxfamsol.be

La Asociación Internacional de Juristas para el Sáhara Occidental, con la colaboración del Iltre. Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona organiza los dias 31 de mayo - 1 de junio en Barcelona un Congreso Juridico sobre el Sahara Occidental
Para la inscripción: ++ 93. 305.52.06/ ++ 93.305.52.23/ ++ 93.207.22.16 - fax ++ 93.207.22.66 &endash; 96.514.87.10 - e-mail:
iajuws@lobocom.es

INTERNET

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