Ahmed Salama Sid-Ahmed presented his credentials to the Angolan President, José Eduardo Dos Santos, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic for the Republic of Angola. During the audience, Ahmed Salama informed the Angolan authorities of the latest developments in the peace process in Western Sahara.
The history of the conflict in Western Sahara seen through the struggle of the Saharawi people for their right to self-determination and independence was the central theme of a seminar organised in Caserta (near Naples) by several Italian universities. Several professors of international law, Italian parliamentarians and senators took part in this meeting, as well as a Saharawi delegation led by Mohamed Sidati, Minister Counselor. The "Seconda" university of Naples, the "Tor Vergata" university of Rome, the University of Perugia and the "Link Campus" of Malta started this initiative. Two other similar meetings are planned, the first in October in Perugia on the theme "Diplomacy of States and Peoples in the solution to the conflict in Western Sahara". A second seminar will be organised by the University "Tor Vergata" of Rome in December, which will treat the "Role of Italy and Europe in the solution of the conflict in Western Sahara".
A delegation from the Basque country, consisting of about sixty people and led by the lehendakari Juan José Ibarretxe, carried out an official visit to the Saharawi Republic. Representatives from all political groups, except Batasuna and the Popular Party, from various institutions as well as journalists formed the delegation. They visited various projects financed by the Basque government, including the installation of the National Saharawi Radio. Their stay ended with an official reception given by the Saharawi president. He warned that any settlement intended to impose solutions which do not respect the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination is condemned to failure and will lead inevitably to war and instability. Ibarretxe, received like a head of state by the Saharawi president, declared himself honoured to be the first head of an autonomous regional government of Spain to visit the Saharawi people. He expressed solemnly his support for the Saharawi cause. He asked the Spanish government and autonomous communities to support the Saharawi cause, adding that the implementation of the UN resolutions was "fundamental". The lehendakari also met members of MINURSO.
The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Piqué, called the trip of the president of the Basque government "irresponsible".
The 100 Moroccan prisoners of war, released on 18 June last by the Polisario Front at the request of Germany, will be repatriated on Sunday 7 July through the International Red Cross (ICRC). The prisoners will be handed over to the ICRC during a formal ceremony attended by representatives of the Polisario Front, the Saharawi Red Crescent, the Red Cross, MINURSO as well as the German Ambassador. (SPS french, with the list of names of those liberated)
After the intentional fire started in a police station in El Ayoun (see week 26 ), the police proceeded to question many Saharawis, especially young people, of whom three are detained. According to reliable sources, Salem Mouloud, Salek Hazaña (El Alawi), Duih Mohamed-Fadel are in a serious state following the torture and rough treatment they have undergone. The three young people were presented to the Procurer of the King who ordered their imprisonment. They will appear in court soon. Several other young people are sought and others have been brutally interrogated and searched in a humiliating manner. The homes of many Saharawi families have also been searched, often in a humiliating way. At El Ayoun police and military patrol the streets and lanes of the city. Smara is under curfew from 22 hours. Meanwhile, the staff of the National Security, the director of the judicial police, two procurers of the King on the Court of First Instance and the penal court as well as the majority of judges have been replaced. (corr., Press rel. AFAPREDESA, report arabic )
At the moment, when an important delegation of Amnesty International is visiting the occupied zones of Western Sahara, the authorities are increasing acts of intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders and relatives of disappeared Saharawis. On 28 June 2002, Barca, whose father Farayi Mohamed-Salem Beih, is one of the disappeared, was summoned and threatened with reprisals if she received the Amnesty International delegation in her home. Subsequently the district caïd summoned the wife of the disappeared Farayi in order to threaten her in case she received the delegation. Her house was where the Amnesty delegates were due to have a meeting.(communiqué AFAPREDESA - comunicado AFAPREDESA)
Algiers: International Seminar of solidarity with the Saharawi people
Organised by the Algerian National Committee of solidarity with the Saharawi people (CNAPS), this conference brought together in the hotel El Djazair parliamentarians, political personalities, academics, lawyers, representatives from NGOs and committees of support for the Saharawi people from 13 European countries, as well as a large Saharawi delegation led by the president of the national assembly (parliament), Salem Lebsir. The Algerian delegation comprised representatives of civil society, the Algerian parliament and Algerians living in France.
The participants heard various speeches on the present situation and in two workshops studied political, legal and economic aspects of the question of Western Sahara. In a final declaration, the participants declared themselves ready to unite their efforts for the Saharawi cause. They demand "greater vigilance towards the many attempts and manoeuvres to question the UN Peace Plan and to deprive the Saharawi people of their fundamental rights". They condemn human rights abuses in the occupied territories and denounce Morocco's policy of colonisation of Western Sahara and illegal exploitation of its natural resources. They decided to bring the matter officially before the United Nations Secretary General, the Security Council, the presidents of the European Council, the Commission and Parliament, as well as the Organisation of African Unity, to ask them to act in favour of the strict respect of the resolutions of the United Nations, of the immediate stop to attacks on human rights in occupied Western Sahara and the illegal exploitation of its natural wealth.
Alongside this meeting, the president of the Algerian Popular Assembly, Mr Karim Younès, received the president of the Saharawi National Assembly (parliament), Mr Salem Lebsir, in the presence of the president of the Algerian Committee of support for the Saharawi people and participants in the conference. The meeting was marked by the announcement of the creation of an Algerian-Saharawi parliamentary group of friendship and fraternity.(Speech of Marianne Eriksson, MEP and Swedish member of the EP intergroup on Western Sahara, Final declaration )
Early Day Motion, EDM 1517
A motion has been put down in the British parliament by the MP, Jeremy Corbyn. It supports the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people and calls on the Security Council to organise a referendum on independence for this former Spanish colony. This motion, which is not debated, has been signed to date by 28 members of parliament.
The ad hoc delegation of the European Parliament approved the final text of its report, in which it gives support to the implementation of a referendum of self-determination. It recognises that it was not the mission of the delegation to declare support for one solution or another, since it is the United Nations alone that is entitled to do so. The delegation considers that the idea of a referendum should not be abandoned, although, in view of the circumstances, it is probable that the referendum cannot be organised. The MEPs consider however, that the formula of autonomy should be taken into account and could become the basis of non-exclusive negotiation between the parties. The role of the EU should be to encourage and to facilitate dialogue and the pursuit of negotiations, by playing the role of mediator. The delegation asks the Council and the Commission to play a more active role and to take on their responsibility in a conflict which has lasted too long. It proposes that the European Parliament should organise meetings with representatives of the two sides, continue to supply humanitarian aid to the refugees and for the development of the region. The report of 38 pages, will be put before the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Summit of the OAU in Durban
In his annual report presented to the 76th ordinary session of the OAU Council of Ministers, the Secretary General, Mr Amara Essy, expressed his support for the implementation of the settlement plan accepted by Morocco and the Polisario Front and approved by the Security Council as a mechanism for settling the conflict in Western Sahara. The OAU as co-responsible with the United Nations, in the search for a mutually acceptable solution, will continue to support the efforts of the UN for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The SADR delegation at this session is led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, accompanied by ambassadors of South Africa, Ethiopia and Angola. On 8 July the summit of OAU heads of state will decide, during its 38th session, on changing the OAU into the African Union. The new organisation, UA, will then hold its first session from 9 to 10 July. (SPS, OUA)
The authorities of the Canary Islands recognised that they are supporting a move by private shipowners in the Canaries to conclude an agreement with Morocco in order to be able to fish in Moroccan territorial waters, despite the non-renewal of the fishing agreement between the EU and Morocco. (CANARIAS 7)
Saharawi Republic President Mohamed Abdelaziz will visit the U.S. Reception hosted by Congressmen Joseph Pitts and Donald Payne and the US-WS Foundation on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 on Capitol Hill.
Special July Trip for the Children - Project: Left Behind: Janet Lenz is organizing for the first time a group of 25+ people to travel to the camps from July 15-29 to present a program for the children of two of the refugee camps who were not able to leave the camps for the summer. Members of Christ The Rock Community Church and Airline Ambassadors will be presenting a variety of fun and educational programs. AAI's International Toy Bank is donating items for the program. For more information, contact Janet at : email@example.com
Mars Hill Bible Church will chair the next Sahara Marathon to be held February, 2003. In addition to the annual Marathon, an Ultra Marathon will be held aimed at "caravaning" supplies down to the most remote refugee camp, Dakhla. For more information, visit the website saharamarathon.org or contact David Stoner at : firstname.lastname@example.org
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