WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 30

21.-27.07.2002

SADR
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
REFERENDUM
MOROCCO
COMING UP
INTERNET
NEW PUBLICATIONS

 

SADR

17.07.02
Algeria
The SADR cultural caravan, which is journeying around western Algeria, is in Tlemcen, after Mostaganem, Sidi Bel Abbes, Mascara and Relizane. An exhibition has been put together of paintings, drawings on glass, pottery as well as photographs retracing the struggle of the Saharawi people for their self-determination. Videocassettes are shown to inform visitors about the different stages of this struggle. In the evening, the Saharawi Women's Union's artistic and theatre group performed. Sayed Hamdi, a writer and member of the Saharawi committee for self-determination gave a lecture on the Saharawi question. The next stages of this tour through western Algeria will take the cultural caravan to the towns of Ain Temouchent and Oran. (SPS)

25.07.02
Mozambique
Nama Said Joumani presented his credentials as Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of SADR in Mozambique to the Mozambican president, Joaquim Alberto Chissano.  (SPS)

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

24.07.02
Hamadi Mohamed Lamine Jiyed, alias Enasiri Ahmed, arrested on 19 June in Rabat (see
week 25) and transferred to El Ayoun prison, went before the court in El Ayoun. The trial was postponed a second time until 18 September. The tribunal refused bail to the accused, although he fulfilled the conditions for it. A former political detainee and disappeared, he is accused of having been the "ring-leader" of the events in Smara in November 2001. (corr.)

REFERENDUM

22.07.02
MINURSO
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has decided to appoint Major-General Gyorgy Szaraz of Hungary as the new Force Commander for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

Security Council

18.07.02
In a letter to the president of the Security Council, Algeria recalled its rejection of the Framework-Agreement proposed by Morocco, considering that "the territory of Western Sahara is not a Moroccan province...but a territory illegally occupied since 1975, registered on the list of non-self-governing territories of the UN...".

22.07.02
Spain
The Spanish Secretary of State for Europe, Ramon de Miguel, declared in Brussels (22.07.02) that "Spain is ready to consider all possible options for Western Sahara, so long as they respect the doctrine generally agreed by the UN, and are upheld by the EU and the international community. The position taken by Spain is that of the majority within the EU and the United Nations, even if one European country (note of the redaction: France) has a different position."

26.07.02
After two sessions of deliberations and numerous consultations, the Council still did not reach agreement on a resolution which would set the direction to follow for the solution of the conflict. It will continue its debate in the coming week.

At the end of April, the Security Council gave itself a period of three months to study in more detail the four options proposed by the UN secretary general in his February report S/2002/178: 1. settlement plan (referendum); 2. framework-agreement (autonomy); 3. partition of the territory; 4. withdrawal of MINURSO.
The USA, UK and France presented a draft resolution, similar to their proposal last April, which would charge James Baker with revising his draft framework-agreement and abandon the peace plan. This proposal did not obtain the support of the two other permanent members, Russia and China, nor the majority of non-permanent members.
The Russian Federation proposed amendments favouring a peaceful settlement, which would preserve the provisions and principles of the UN settlement plan. After long discussions, the president of the Council declared "that the 15 members had arrived at the conclusion that a complex resolution covering the four options...was probably not the way to go." He pointed out that he would submit a "clearer" draft resolution next week and that the Council was unanimously in favour of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara." (
UN news)
An extension of four months of MINURSO's mandate is expected, during which time James Baker will be charged with looking for for a solution based on the right to self-determination. This would appear to mean the autonomy project will be buried.

The Polisario Front, which had considered in its letter of 22.07.02 that the draft resolution from USA-France-GB ignored its point of view, by-passed that of the important countries of the Maghreb and Europe, ignored also that of the OUA/African Union and the opinion of the majority of Security Council members, regretted that the draft resolution amended by Russia "giving a mandate to Mr James Baker to draw up a settlement proposal for the conflict based on respect for the exercise of the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination" could not have been adopted. It condemned the "irresponsible" attitude of Morocco, which "supported by France, opposed this move by the Security Council" (statement by Mhamed Khadad).
The ambassador of Morocco, in a letter to the Security Council on 25 July, had categorically rejected any proposal which did not respect Moroccan sovereignty.

In a large-scale diplomatic campaign, Morocco had sent emissaries to the capital cities of member states of the Security Council. After the Minister of Human Rights' visit to Dublin and Oslo, the Minister of Management of the Territory went to Singapore and Beijing. Hamid Chabar, liaison officer with MINURSO, travelled to Paris, while other members of the government and advisers went to London, Moscow and Washington.

With derisory means, solidarity associations, NGOs, political groups, public and parliamentary bodies from the whole world, etc. in favour of the decolonisation of the Sahara and of respect for the right to self-determination led a vast campaign in their own manner, sending letters, faxes, emails, petitions, motions, statements and manifestos to officials in the UN and in certain governments. (not exhaustive listing )

MOROCCO

22.07.02
According to the Madrid daily,
La Razon, Morocco has just acquired 12 Apache combat helicopters from Saudi-Arabia. This purchase, made at the time of the marriage of Mohamed VI, was justified by the supposed presence of Al Quaeda cells in the Sahara. It is part of the Moroccan strategy of acquiring superior air power over its neighbours. The USA, contacted last May by the Moroccans, would have been opposed to the sale of this equipment to Morocco.

COMING UP

The 28th European Conference of support to the Saharawi people, EUCOCO 2002, Peace and Self-determination for the Saharawi people
Modena (Italy) 25-27 October 2002
Contact:
ansps@libero.it ; roversi@arci.tin.it

 

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