WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 45

03.-09.11.2002

 

SADR

31.10.02
The Polisario Front expressed its "astonishment" at the declarations of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs in favour of the Moroccan draft "framework agreement" (see week
43/44). Mr. Ould Salek, SADR Minister of Foreign Affairs, underlined that the position of the French minister is in "flagrant contradiction with the resolutions and decisions taken by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. He renewed his appeal to France to play a "balanced and positive role", in order to assist the Polisario Front and Morocco to start implementing the provisions of the settlement plan and the Houston agreement which they signed under the auspices of the UN Secretary General and his personal envoy.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

30.10.02
The four young Saharawis arrested while they attempted unsuccessfully to join the Polisario Front (see week
43+44) will appear before the court on 20 November 2002. (corr.)

06.11.02
Statement
In a statement pointing out the continuation of the hunger strike observed since 01.11.02 by Tamek Ali Salem, the "Collective of Saharawi human rights defenders" calls for the improvement of prison conditions and expresses its solidarity with Tamek. The Collective calls for the intervention of international human rights organisations, in particular Amnesty international, FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights) Human Rights Watch, with the Moroccan authorities to save the life of Tamek

REFERENDUM

06.11.02
USA
"A higher level of regional economic cooperation would facilitate the political resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara" declared the American Under-Secretary of State for political affairs, Marc Grossman, during a press conference in Algiers. Grossman expressed his complete confidence in James Baker, adding that the "interdependence of economic and security questions should be taken into consideration for a better understanding of the issue". He spoke in a similar vein in Morocco the next day.

06.11.02
Morocco explicitly refuses the referendum
"The possibility of a referendum as proposed in the UN settlement plan is out of the question as it is unimplementable", the King of Morocco said in his televised speech on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the Green March, referring to "growing support from the international community for the relevance of our position of searching for a political solution to the conflict".
Believing he could resolve the problem by economic development, he added that the Development Agency of the "southern provinces" had drawn up an integrated development plan, comprising a series of ambitious projects and had "ordered" a meeting of Administration Council of this agency "as soon as possible". He affirmed that Morocco would assure the inhabitants of Western Sahara "a precious and inestimable benefit, namely liberty, which permits them to lead a free and dignified life under the protective wing of their mother country which guarantees security and stability."

Saharawi reactions:

Mohamed Sidati, Minister Counselor: "The words in the King Mohamed VI of Morocco‚s speech (...) will only serve to maintain immobility and intransigence and prolong the ordeal of the Saharawi people and create instability and insecurity in the Maghreb region".(Declaration)

Ould Salek, Minister of Foreign Affairs: "It is a declaration of war against right, international law and against the Saharawi people, the consequences of which the King of Morocco and his new government must assume the sole responsibility." (SPS )

07.11.02
UN
The UN Secretary General‚s Special Representative for Western Sahara, Mr Lacy Swing, accompanied by Mr Radwane Noueissir, the new UNHCR representative for the Maghreb and Middle East met the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benaissa. Mr Noueissir pointed out that the UN delegation had presented (once again) to the Moroccan authorities the project of "confidence-building measures" set out in the peace plan, which the HCR would like to carry out. These measures provide for exchanges of courriers and telephone conversations between Saharawi families in Tindouf and in the Western Sahara, as well as visits to allow separated families to meet up. (agencies)

MOROCCO

04.11.02
Mrs Michèle Alliot-Marie, French Minister for Defence, on a "courtesy visit" in Morocco, was received by the King. Mrs Alliot-Marie stressed the need for Morocco and France to coordinate their efforts for bringing peace to regional crises.

08.11.02
New government
The composition of the new Moroccan government, announced over a month after the elections, brought disappointment and criticism both in Morocco and abroad.
In a declaration to SPS, the SADR Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, emphasised that after "a painful labour" King Mohamed VI of Morocco had disappointed everyone with this ministerial team which he described as "over-crowded", which reflects "immobility and inertia within the country and escalation in the tension with immediate neighbours". "What is new apart from the replacement of Youssoufi with Jettou?" the minister asked, pointing out that the verdict of the ballot box., "despite the fraud and falsification which characterised the legislative elections of 27 September last, was not respected in the composition of the new government". (SPS)

SOUTH AFRICA

06.11.02
Mediation
A highly placed official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P. Mathoma, announced to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee that the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, in his role as President of the African Union, was engaged in trying to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara. It is the reason that South Africa has postponed its recognition of SADR. South Africa has good relations with Algeria, Morocco and the Polisario Front and is in a position to persuade them that the only solution lies in a mutually acceptable negotiated agreement. Mbeki had recently declared that he was in contact with James Baker and had also met the King of Morocco. (SAPA)

HUMAN RIGHTS

03.11.02
Rafto Prize for Human Rights goes to Mohamed Daddach
Thanks to pressure from the Norwegian government and the UN the Saharawi former political prisoner finally obtained his passport for his visit to Bergen in Norway. The award of the prize took place during a musical evening and a march with torches through the town of Bergen. In the course of his stay, Daddach was also received in Oslo by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik and the Parliament. Daddach‚s mother and his sister, arriving from the camps in Tindouf were able to meet their son and brother after over 25 years‚ separation.
Speeches, messages, reports, photos:
see special page.

HUMANITARIAN AID

06.11.02
Algeria decided to take part in the WFP operation for assistance to the Saharawi refugees for the period 2002-2004 and to supply 66,000 tonnes of basic food products for 155, 430 Saharawi refugees for a sum of 29.8 million dollars. A letter of agreement was signed in Algiers by the Algerian Secretary General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the representative of the World Food Program in Algiers. (SPS)

SOLIDARITY

España
La sección juvenil de la Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Albacete, junto con el Consejo Local de Juventud, han desarrollado un proyecto de sensibilización juvenil a nivel provincial. Este proyecto se denomina "CARAVANA JUVENIL POR LA PAZ EN EL SAHARA", teniendo como objetivo primordial, visitar los campamentos de refugiados saharauis en Tinduf (Argelia). El día 17 de diciembre del 2002, 100 jovenes saldrán del aeropuerto de Alicante, rumbo a Tinduf en Argelia, destino, los campamentos de refugiados saharauis, volviendo a Albacete, el día 22 de diciembre del 2002.

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN of the BIRDHSO: Freedom and Justice for the 526 Saharawi Disappeared: Appeal and formulary to download

CAMPAGNE INTERNATIONALE du BIRDHSO: Liberté et Justice pour les 526 disparus sahraouis: Appel, formulaires et sigantures en ligne

CAMPANA INTERNACIONAL del BIRDHSO: Libertad y justicia para los 526 desparecidos.: Llamamento y formularios

CAMPAGNA INTERNAZIONALE del BIRDHSO: Libertà e Giustizia per i 526 desaparecidos Sahraui: apello e formulario

COMING UP...

06,-10.11.02, Forum social, Florence: Anpas Emilia Romagna, volevamo avvisare che all'interno del Social Forum a Firenze c/o fortezza da Basso avremo uno stand in compartecipazione con Anpas Toscana e la presenza del polisario e delle associazioni spagnole per il popolo Sahrawi, con materiale e mostre sui campi profughi Sahrawi.
Vi aspettiamo allo stand Q2.

12.11.02, Wien, Austria: Westsahara - Hat der Friedensplan noch eine Chance? Informationsabend, Festsaal der Diplomatischen Akademie, Favoritenstraße 15a, 19.30. Org.: Österreichisches Nord&endash;Süd Institut für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit in Kooperation mit dem Bundesministerium für auswärtige Angelegneheiten und vidc, Wiener Institut für Entwicklungsfragen. >> Programm.

15.-23.11.02, Referéndum simbolico: La Plataforma Pro Referéndum Libre en el Sáhara Occidental organizá una consulta popular sobre el futuro del Sáhara del 15 al 23 de noviembre. Sábado 23 de Noviembre, a las 12H., en la Plaza Mayor de Madrid. También se puede votar por internet en: http://www.canalsolidario.com/referendumsahara

17.11.02: Die Donaustädter Sozial- und Entwicklungshilfe veranstaltet am 17. November um 18 Uhr im Orpheum, Steigenteschgasse 94 b, ein Benefizkonzert mit der Gruppe URGESTEIN (von Country bis Pop &endash; von Irish Folk bis Ambros). Unter dem Ehrenschutz von: Franz K. Effenberg, Bezirksvorsteher des 22. Bezirkes Donaustadt, Karin Scheele, Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments, Najat Hamdi, Offizielle Vetreterin der "Demokratischen Arabischen Republik der Saharauis" in Österreich.

21.11.02 Wien, 19:00 Uhr, Kulturzentrum Villa Windisch-Grätz, Linzerstrasse 452,(Erreichbar von Hütteldorf mit den Buslinien 149, 151, 249, Wolfersberg): "WESTSAHARA, EIN VERGESSENES LAND AFRIKAS", DIA-VORTRAG von Mag. Noriko Aoyagi ( Frau Mag. Noriko Aoyagi ist japanischer Herkunft und lebt als Kulturjournalistin in Wien. Sie besuchte dreimal sahraouische Flüchtlingslager). Veranstaltet von Österreichische Frauenföderation für Weltfrieden mit Unterstützung Österreich Soka Gakkai International.

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