WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 17-18: 18.04.-01.05.2004

original french

SADR

19.04.04
Moroccan Campaign of misrepresentation and manipulation
Statement of Mohamed Sidati, Minister- Delegate for Europe. 19.04.04: «For several weeks and in the aftermath of the hideous terrorist bombings in Madrid, the Moroccan press, with the complicity of certain French quarters, has been launching a frenzied campaign of disinformation and vilification aiming at discrediting the Frente POLISARIO by suggesting that it has relations with terrorism.»
This campaign has intensfied with the tales of a Moroccan journalist who claims that Bin Laden visited the Saharawi camps during the 1990s... (Aujourd'hui le Maroc , 30.04.04)

24.04.04
Protest March to the "Wall of Shame"
Some 500 people, of which the majority were Spanish people from the Spanish autonomous regions, as well as Greeks, Italians, etc. demonstrated in front of the 2700km (1800 mile) military defensive wall that has split Western Sahara in two since the 1980s. At the head of the procession were members of regional parliaments, local councillors, mayors, representatives of Saharawi solidarity organistations and members of the Culture Against War platform led by the actress Marisa Paredes.
On the banners of the demonstrators could be read "We'll demolish this wall", "Colonialist Morocco Out of the Sahara", "Free Sahara - Victory to Polisario", "Listen Zapetero, there's a struggle in the Sahara" and "Another Sahara is Possible". MINURSO military observers kept the demonstrators at a respectable distance from the military constructions, due to the extremely dangerous minefields. After speeches and poems, the demonstrators wrote their names on a stone monument they built in the desert, symbolising their hope that the wall will be knocked down.
Special page: Muro de la verguenza - Mur de la honte - Wall of Shame

In parallel, demonstrators gathered for two days in front of the French consulate in Bilbao.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

24.04.04
In an interview with
Semanal digital, Erik Hagen described his visit to occupied Western Sahara, the conditions of his deportations and the violations of human rights suffered by Saharawis.

REFERENDUM

23.04.04
Secretary-General Report S/2004/325, (
PDF) - (HTML)
In his report, Annan presents Morocco's final response to the Baker peace plan which was submitted to the two parties in May 2003 and which the POLISARIO Front welcomed positively in July of last year. In his conclusions, Kofi Annan states that "Morocco does not accept the Settlement Plan to which it had agreed for many years... and it also now does not accept essential elements of the Peace Plan (of Baker). It accepts nothing but negotiations about the autonomy of Western Sahara "in the framework of Moroccan sovereignty".
Nevertheless, after "more than 13 years and the expenditure of more than $600 million", Annan is not throwing in the towel, he believes that "the Peace Plan [of Baker] still constitutes the best political solution to the conflict over Western Sahara which provides for self-determination, as required by paragraph 1 of resolution 1429 (2002).» Annan recommends a 10 month extension of MINURSO'S mandate.

29.04.04
UN Security Council Resolution
S/RES/1541 (2004)
In this resolution, adopted unanimously, the Council "reaffirms its support for the Peace Plan for the Self-Determination of the People of Western Sahara, which constitutes the optimum political solution on the basis of agreement between the two parties ...[and] decides to textend the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October 2004".

Reactions and comments

In an interview, M'hamed Khaddad, Saharawi co-ordinator with the UN, says that the Council resolution "constitutes a blunt refusal and the clearest possible rejection of the Moroccan response". (ARSO)

The Saharawi president, speaking in a press conference in the margins of the international demonstration in front of the "Wall of Shame", felt that Kofi Annan should have been "firmer in asking the Security Council to impose the application of the Peace Plan on Morocco", adding that the 10 month extension proposed by the Secretary-General "is too long". (SPS)

In a declaration in the name of his government, the SADR Ambassador in Algiers, Mohamed Benaissa, judged that "the Council reaffirms its support for the peace plan for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara", "the best solution" for a final political solution in accordance with international law.(SPS)

"France supports the search for a poltical solution agreed by all the parties, in the UN framework and under the auspices of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General. We hope that these 6 months can be put to good use by the parties to work with the Seretary-General and his Personal Envoy, and between themselves, towards a mutually acceptable solution". (Declaration of spokesperson of Quai d'Orsay(french), Paris, 30th April 2004)

Algeria welcomes "with great satisfaction" the unanimous adoption of resolution 1541, which "reiterates the Security Council's engagement in worknig to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution assuring the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara". (SPS)

"The Kingdom of Morocco is delighted with the adoption, by the Security Council, of resolution 1541 (2004) concerning the national question. With this resolution, the Council expresses anew its energetic support to the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and his Personal Envoy, with the aim of bringing a political solution acceptable to all the parties". (MAP)

Margot Kessler, in the name of the European Parliament Intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People", confirmed in a press release that the Baker plan constitutes "an intelligent, viable, peaceful and balanced solution to the territorial dispute between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front", adding that Morocco must accept it, because it represents a historic possibility for the respect of international law and for prosperity in the Maghreb.(English statement)

>See also the Statement (French) from the Luxembourg Committee of Support for the Saharawi People, 29.04.04.

SPAIN - MOROCCO

24.04.04
Official Visit of the new head of the Spanish government to Morocco.
Prior to this visit, associations such as FEDISSAH (Federacion Estatal de Instituciones Solidarias con el Sahara) and the CEAS-Sahara (Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones Solidarias con el Sahara ), and political parties such as the Popular Party, Izquierda Unida et Coalicion Canaria called on the Prime Minister to stay true to Spain's traditional support to the Saharawi people's right to self-determination.

On Western Sahara, Zapatero hoped that "the United Nations can lead to an agreement". "I wish that Baker enters into history, himself and his plan, for having brought agreement between Morocco, the POLISARIO Front and Algeria (...)(...). My position will be to help find this agreement".(AFP 23.04.04)

Elsewhere, he indicated that his government "hopes to contribute to am agreement between all the parties, in the United Nations framework". He declared himself convinced of the possibility of arriving at a "point of balance which respects the rights of all the parties". (AFP)

In a joint declaration published by MAP one can read that "the two Parties called for the adoption of a consensual, fair and definitive political solution to the question of the Sahara, negotiated by all the concerned parties, in the framework of international law and the efforts of the United Nations and affirmed their engagement to making a contribution towards the realisation of this objective."

30.04.04
Mohamed Sidati, Saharawi Minister for Europe, reacted to the declarations of Zapatero, president of the Spanish Government. The Saharawi Minister judged that these statements "are confusing and will comfort Morocco in its intransigence, defiance and rebellion against the international community". "All the initiatives on offer to resolve the Western Sahara conflict should reinforce those of the international community" the Saharawi Minister underlined. (
Declaration French)

NETHERLANDS

19.04.04.
Attempted Intimidation
In a statement, the Netherlands Foundation for the Self-Determination of Western Sahara summarised the manoeuvres of intimidation organised by the Moroccan diplomatic mission to the Netherlands to try and prevent, and then break up, an evening organised at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam to present a book by Nicolien Zuijdgeest "Journeys to Western Sahara, the Last Colony in Africa", and a debate with Ali Lmrabet (Moroccan independent journalist).(see weeks
15-16/2004) (Statement )

HUMAN RIGHTS

60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 15th March - 26th April 2004.

16.04.04: Demonstration "For the self-determination of the Saharawi People and for the application of UN resolutions" - "For the liberation of all the Saharawi Disappeared and Prisoners of Conscience" Supplementary documents available:

Demonstration

Conference "Peace and Respect for Human Rights in Western Sahara"

17.04.04
General Assembly of the Internation Office for the Respect of Human Rights in Western Sahara - BIRDHSO, Geneva:
Documents available on their site (French):

BIRDHSO subscription campaign

Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 15th March - 26th April 2004

Account of the work with speeches on Western Sahara:
19.04.04: Point 7 : in the name of
ISMUN (International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations) and of YUSY ( International Union Of Socialist Youth)

See also: - UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, 15th March - 26th April 2004 Intervenciones / Interventions /Documentos / Documents (AFAPREDESA)

COMING UP...

S. Sebastián de los Reyes: El próximo 8 de Mayo se celebrará un cine forum a las 20:00h. en el centro cultural "Blas de Otero", sito en la Avda de Guadalajara 12. Se proyectará la película "los Baúles del retorno". Asimismo os comunicamos que a finales de Mayo saldrá una caravana de alimentos con destino a los campamentos de refugiados, recogemos en Avda de España 5, Alcobendas, los jueves de 19:00 a 21:00h. Los donativos se pueden realizar en Caja Madrid 2038 2407 76 6000094029 a nombre de la Asociación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui.

Auckland, New Zealand: St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St, Ponsonby, May 10, 7.30pm, Hear KAMAL FADEL speak about the present situation in WESTERN SAHARA. For more information contact Felicity Coggan Ph (09)579 5707 fcoggan@xtra.co.nz or Joan Macdonald ph(09) 360 8001, joanmac@pl.net

Léon: La Delegación Saharaui en León, el Ayuntamiento de San Andrés del Rabanedo, el Vicerrectorado de Relaciones Internacionales y la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de León, están organizando para el mes de mayo de 2004 en el Campus de la Universidad de León: JORNADAS SOBRE EL SÁHARA OCCIDENTAL 2004 (contact: delsahleon@hotmail.com)

Toledo: "Hablemos del Sahara, rompamos el bloqueo informativo", 2ª Conferencia Internacional sobre la Informacion en el Sahara Occidental, Toledo 28, 29 y 30 Mayo 2004. Info: Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones de Solidaridad con el Sahara sahara-coord.estatal@wanadoo.es. Web-site: http://www.hablemosdelsahara.com

INTERNET

Nuevo sitio saharaui (campamentos): Futuro saharaui, arabe et castellano

Actualizacion de las paginas de la UNMS (Union Nacional de MujeresSaharauis)en ARSO

20 Abril, 2004: III Jornadas Culturales del Día del Libro, dedicadas a la literatura del Sahara.

"Hablemos del Sahara, rompamos el bloqueo informativo", 2ª Conferencia Internacional sobre la Informacion en el Sahara Occidental, Toledo 28, 29 y 30 Mayo 2004.

OPINIONS

 

NEW PUBLICATIONS
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Français

Les dépêches, articles, etc, sur Sahara-Info, liste de courrier (français et espagnol): http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/sahara-info/messages

English

English publications on Sahara Update mailinglist: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-update/messages

Castellano

Todos los despachos, articulos de prensa, etc, son acessible en Sahara-Info, lista de correo (castellano y francés): http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/sahara-info/messages

LIBROS

Arabe

Néerlandais

Portugais

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