WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 29

14.-20.07.2002

SADR

16.07.02
Abdelkader Messahel, Minister of Foreign Affairs responsible for Maghreb and African affairs, reaffirmed "the traditional position" of Algeria on the peace process in Western Sahara. At the end of an interview with Mr William Lacy Swing, the UN Special Representative for Western Sahara, Mr Messahel underlined that the "Algerian position on the question of Western Sahara is based on the principle of self-determination and the implementation of the action plan of the United Nations as well as the Houston Agreements." Mr Swing indicated that his visit to Algiers was part of an exchange of points of view with Algerian officials on the question of Western Sahara. (SPS)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

15.07.02
The three young Saharawis accused of having started a fire in the neighbourhood of a police station in El Ayoun on 19 June, Salem Mouloud, Salek Hazaña (El Alawi) and Duih Mohamed-Fadel (see
week 27), were judged by the appeal court of Agadir and sentenced to six months' imprisonment for two of them and 12 months' imprisonment for the third. (corr.)

REFERENDUM

12.07.02
The ad hoc delegation for Western Sahara of the European Parliament published its report which was approved by a narrow majority. Mrs Eriksson rejected it and drew up her
own report, declaring that "the official version of events is far from the reality witnessed and fears that such inaccuracies will prejudice future Parliamentary policy to the detriment of the fragile peace in the region".
Two Spanish members of the delegation, Isidoro Sanchez Garcia and Carlos Bautista Ojeda, also withdrew their support for the report (
Ronny Hansen) (Full EP ad hoc delegation report)

13.07.02
USA
37 members of the American Congress, in a letter to President Bush, express their support for a referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people and ask the government to commit itself in favour of the holding of a referendum without delay, the only solution which will put an end to the conflict.

16.07.02
Declaration
On the eve of the deliberations of the Security Council on the renewal MINURSO's mandate, the Minister Counsellor to the Presidency, Mr Sidati, made a statement asking "the international community to continue courageously to defend right and law" faced with "the sinister conspiracy aimed at by-passing the Peace Plan". "The whole question consists of knowing, writes Mr Sidati, whether the Security Council, as an institution, is from now on prepared to curb the insatiable territorial ambitions of Morocco and to enquire as to the real role played by France which makes no secret of its unconditional support for Morocco and its expansionist policies. The Moroccan kingdom is no longer hesitating from acting recklessly as its recent coup de force against Spain illustrates. Its acts of aggression must be contained and neutralised if peace and stability in the whole western Mediterranean rim are not to be put under serious threat." (
Press Statement)

Mid-July
The
Manifesto for Peace in Western Sahara, initiated by three Swiss NGOs and signed by several organisations and numerous individuals, has been delivered to Spanish Embassies in different countries, as well as to the members of the UN Security Council.

18.07.02
Diplomacy
Morocco delegated its Minister for Human rights to visit Ireland and Norway, two member states of the Security Council, to transmit to their respective Premiers a message from the King concerning the consultations of the Security Council on the question of Western Sahara.

19.07.02
Abdelaziz in the USA
After presiding on 16 at a dinner organised in his honour in Washington by Congressmen Pitts et Payne and the US-Western Sahara Foundation, the Saharawi President met the UN Secretary General and the President of the Security Council. He spoke to a group of representatives of non-permanent member countries of the Council and had talks with the Ambassadors of China, France, Russia, USA, Norway, Mexico, Colombia, Mauritius, Ireland and Singapore. Mohamed Abdelaziz reaffirmed the Saharawi side's attachment to the settlement plan and its categorical rejection of the so-called draft Framework Agreement. A memorandum detailing the position of the Polisario Front was handed to the members of the Council and to all members of the United Nations. (Min Info RASD)

20.07.02
Early Day Motion, EDM 1517
The motion, put down in the British parliament by the MP, Jeremy Corbyn on 26 June 2002 has been signed to date by 42 members of parliament.

SPAIN-MOROCCO

Occupation of the islet Leïla-Parsley (continued)
16.07. Moroccan gendarmes occupying the disputed Parsley islet for five days (see week 28) are replaced by soldiers. This change in the "nature of the Moroccan military presence" is felt as "a clear provocation" by Spain, whose troops land at dawn on 17 on the islet, capture the six members of the Moroccan security and handing them over to Moroccan authorities. Morocco refers to the Security Council and demands the immediate withdrawal of the Spanish forces.

17.07. The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benaïssa, who had announced the day before his intention of wishing to "resolve [this dispute] through dialogue", considers that the military action of Spain "is tantamount to a declaration of war",giving assurance that "an agreement had been concluded before the start of the Spanish operation", thanks to the mediation of the United States, France and Belgium.

18.07. Spain declares itself ready to withdraw its troops as soon as Morocco guarantees a return to the situation which prevailed before 11 July. Satisfied with the support from the European Union, Madrid however, leaves it to be understood that France is playing a double game which favours Morocco.

19.07. "No negotiation, no discussion can take place (...) before the complete withdrawal of Spanish troops" from the islet, Benaïssa declares to the press in Paris, denying a declaration which had been attributed to him by AFP, according to which Morocco would not return to Parsley after a Spanish withdrawal.

20.07.02. Spanish troops began to leave the North African island of Perejil after Spain and Morocco reached a U.S.-brokered agreement over the disputed outcrop.

SOLIDARITY

Italia:
7 anni insieme per i Saharawi...
Quinto Alto (Sesto Fiorentino) 17 e 18 luglio 2002: Giornate di solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi organizzate dall'Associazione "La Concordia", dalla Casa del Popolo di Quinto Alto, dal Circolo M.C.L. "Quinto Alto", dalla Misericordia di Quinto, dalla Parrocchia di S. Maria a Quinto, dal Centro Civico n. 3 (Quinto) ed con il patrocinio del Comune di Sesto Fiorentino e la collaborazione organizzativa dell'Associazione di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi "Ban Slout Larbi".

España:
ACTO DE SOLIDARIDAD PARA LLEVAR AGUA A LOS CAMPAMENTOS DE REFUGIADOS SAHARAUIS.
ONGs que participan en la campaña: Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui, Plataforma Mujeres Artistas, Paz y Tercer Mundo, Solidaridad Internacional, Instituto de Estudios Políticos para América Latina y África (IEPALA), ACSUR Las Segovias y Movimiento Por la Paz, el Desarme y la Libertad (MPDL). Infos: Asociación Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui, Tel. 91 531 28 29, e-mail: saharamad@congde.org

COMING UP...

Friday, 26 July: The Security Council has scheduled consultations on Western Sahara.

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