WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

Résumé  september 2007

WEEKS 36 - 39 : 01.09. - 30.09.2007

original french

SADR

30.08.07, Sport
In the framework of sporting competitions for the Summer cup 2007, the football final was won in Tifariti by the 27 February team, against Ausserd. The women’s volley ball final went to the team from Ausserd. Other competitions took place, such as shooting and traditional games.

05.-06.09.07, 7th meeting of the Saharawi community in Algiers.
Numerous students took part in this meeting and 60 of them were congratulated for their success in the baccalaureat examinations.
 
14.09.07, Madrid
The Spanish minister for Foreign Affairs, M. A. Moratinos, received the official for external relations with the Polisario Front, Mr S. ould Salek, in the context of political contacts with the parties to the conflict. He reiterated Spain’s commitment for a negotiated solution respecting international law. A Saharawi source indicated that Ould Salek gave Moratinos an invitation from the President of SADR to the Spanish President, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to go to the Saharawi refugee camps.
[comunicado oficial MAE espanol] [El Moudjahid

14-22.09.07, Mexico
The visit of the president of the Saharawi parliament, Mahfoud Ali Beiba, provided the opportunity for many political and parliamentary contacts.

14.09.07, Uganda
The new Saharawi ambassador to Uganda, Hamdi Bouheha, presented his credentials to the Ugandan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa.

17-21.09.07, Finland
The Saharawi representative for the Nordic countries, Yahiaoui Lamine, carried out a visit to Helsinki, where he was received by Anna Gebremedhin, among others, the deputy director of the department for Africa and the Middle East with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and by numerous parliamentarians.

21.09.07, Basque Country
The Basque government made available to SADR a mobile office for the establishment of identity cards for the refugees in the camps.
[Europa Press]

24.09.07, Congress
The XIIth congress of the Polisario Front will take place in a liberated area of Tifariti from 14 to 18 December 2007. It will bear the name of the martyr,
Messoud Mbarek Ahmed Lehsen, known as Gahgah, and its theme will be “the general struggle to bring about complete sovereignty and independence”.

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

Questionings and arrests
Abdelghani Kabdani, arrested on 30.08 and imprisoned in the Black Prison (see August 07), is accused of trafficking drugs.
A young Saharawi official, arrested in Dakhla, died while being transported by car to a psychiatric clinic in Agadir in circumstances which have not been clarified.
[AFAPREDESA]

Intimidations
Police break into three dwellings in El Ayoun looking for Naama Asfari at the beginning of September. In Smara a school child is sent home from a private school, his father being known as a pro-independence activist.

Prisons
El-Wali Amidane starts a hunger strike on 17, demanding to be transferred to Aït Melloul prison, which would be more favourable for the pursuit of his studies. He is transferred on 23 against his will to Taroudant prison. He suspends his hunger strike on 25 in the hope of seeing his demands met. 
[CODESA]
Three Saharawi political prisoners are on hunger strike in the Black Prison since 10 September, and two since 25 September in Tiznit prison, to protest against the conditions of their incarceration.
Saharawi students sentenced in Marrakech and Rabat have left prison after having served their sentences, likewise the political prisoner, Laroussi Choubida.

Work Accident
Accidental death on 11.9. of Lehsan Alkairaa, a Saharawi worker at Phosboucraa. The organisation of Saharawi workers in his department denounce the disastrous working conditions and the lack of safety measures at the work place, as well as the negligence of Moroccan officials. This is the second accident in two months.
[communiqué] 

Demonstrations
Three times demonstrations are violently dispersed causing many injuries and arrests, followed by the ransacking of several homes. On 12 at El Ayoun (16 persons arrested), on 20 in Zak and on 24 in Smara. The Saharawi President writes to the UN Secretary General on 26. Saharawi citizens in the Southern Moroccan town of Mhamid El Ghizlan express their solidarity with the victims.

Sentence
Mohamed Tahlil, president of the Boujdour branch of ASVDH, is given on 19 September a three year prison sentence.

05-09.09.07, testimony
The Saharawi student,
Soultana Khaya,  seriously injured in Marrakech, travelled to Sweden at the invitation of various NGOs, she was received at the foreign ministry and by parliamentarians and politicians. She spoke during conferences and gave an interview to the paper, Flamman [13.09.07, svensk] [--> plus]
She continued her trip in Spain.

29.09.07, hommage
The "Jose Antonio Gonzalez Caraballo" prize for solidarity was awarded in Madrid to the Saharawi activist and former political prisoner, Hmad Hamad, at the end of the second general meeting of the Coordination of Spanish Committees of support for the Saharawi people, CEAS, in recognition of the peaceful struggle carried out by Saharawi citizens in the occupied territories of Western Sahara.
[EFE]
[Jose Antonio Gonzalez Caraballo] 

NATURAL RESOURCES

Phosphates
The ship, Genco Prosperity arrived on 28 September at the port of Lyttleton, New Zealand and on 29 in Dunedin, carrying phosphate from Western Sahara.
The Greek ship, Predator is expected in Tauranga, New Zealand on 10 October. It is marked as coming from Jorf Lasfar in Morocco, whilst in reality it comes from El Ayoun.

11.08.07, New Zealand
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that 90% of phosphate imported into New Zealand comes from Morocco, while the official site speaks of 80%. [New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade]

04.09.07
The Association of Saharawis in Norway criticised the Norwegian company, Gearbulk, 60% owner of the Jebsen family, based in the United Kingdom, for carrying phosphate from Western Sahara for the benefit of Morocco. [Press Release Association of Saharawis in Norway].

12.09.07
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a note recommending Norwegian businesses to give up involvement in Western Sahara.
[Original norsk]  [english translation]   [E.Hagen, Norwatch/engl.]

18.09.07
The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt replied to a question of a member of parliament on oil prospection in occupied Western Sahara.[Question in Swedish[Answer in Swedish
[English translation]

21.09.07, Australia
AWSA, the Australia Western Sahara Association, organised a protest outside the Melbourne headquarters of Incitec Pivot, one of three Australian companies importing phosphate from Western Sahara, during which federal parliamentarians spoke.
[more]  [Green Left]

REFERENDUM

27.08.07, Mexico
The Mexican Congress approves a resolution welcoming the opening of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
[mas] 

31.08 / 01.09.07, visits
The special representative of the UN Secretary General for the Sahara, Julian Harston, is received successively by the Saharawi President, Mohamed Abdelaziz  and by the Moroccan Minister for the Interior, Chakib Benmoussa.

31.08.-02.09.07, Brazil
The 3rd Congress of the workers party (PT, in power) included on its agenda the defense of the right to self-determination and support for the Saharawi Republic. [SPS]

14/17.09.07, Moroccan-Saharawi negotiations
The special envoy of the Secretary General for the Sahara, van Walsum, proposed to Morocco and the Polisario Front to fix the next meeting in Geneva in November next.
[Europa Press] 

According the to Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, the Polisario Front “has accepted this proposal”.
[voir les dossiers de presse réguliers de Sahara Info sur les
négociations Front Polisario-Maroc]

26.09.-02.10.07, UN General Assembly – general debate
During the general debate at the opening of the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly, several heads of state and foreign ministers brought up the question of Western Sahara and welcomed the opening of negotiations allowing the matter to reach a solution respecting the principle of self-determination:

Mauritania: http://www.un.org/News/fr-press/docs/2007/AG10623.doc.htm
Spain [english] : http://www.un.org/News/fr-press/docs/2007/AG10625.doc.htm
[espanol] http://www.europapress.es/noticia.aspx?cod=20070929015411&ch=69
United Arab Emirates [english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/unitedarabemirates-en.pdf
Timor-Leste [english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/timor-leste-eng.pdf
Algeria [français] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/algeria-fr.pdf
Namibia [english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/namibia-en.pdf
Angola
[english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/angola-eng.pdf
Tanzania
[english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/tanzania-en.pdf
Niger [français] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/niger-fr.pdf
Belize
[english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/belize-en.pdf
Lesotho
[english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/lesotho-eng.pdf
Intervention of the Moroccan minister of FA, Mohamed Benaïssa
[english] http://www.un.org/webcast/ga/62/2007/pdfs/morocco-eng.pdf

ALGERIA - SPAIN

03.09.07
The Algerian public enterprise Sonatrach cancelled its contract with Spanish firms Repsol and Gas Natural concerning a joint enterprise for the exploitation of natural gas at
Gassi Touil in Algeria. According to the Algerian Minister for Energy, the Spanish companies had not fulfilled their undertakings. <http://www.leblogfinance.com/2007/09/gaz-sonatrach-a.html>http://www.leblogfinance.com/2007/09/gaz-sonatrach-a.html
[Blog finance]  [La Nouvelle République]
In the Spanish press, the position of the Zapatero government in the Western Sahara conflict was said to have been a determining factor.
The commercial dispute will undergo international arbitration.
In reaction, the Spanish government rejected Sonatrach’s offer to acquire 30% of the oil group Cepsa for an amount of 5.5 million euros.
[see the regular press bulletins on Sahara Info on Spanish-Algerian relations]

MOROCCO

31.08.07
The Millennium Challenge Corporation, an aid program of the American government for emerging democracies, gave the Moroccan government a sum of nearly 700 million dollars in order to stimulate sustainable economic and social development. Part of this sum is destined for the development of small scale fishing. [afrol News, English]

Armaments, continued
The purchase of 18 French Rafale fighter aeroplanes for a price of 2.3 billion euros is facing serious competition with an offer from the United States of 36 second-hand F-16 fighters for less than 2 billion euros. To be continued. [La Tribune/Fr]
[AFP]  [Defense Industry Daily, 30-Sep-2007]

HUMAN RIGHTS

04.09.07
The continuation of confidence-building measures, in particular the family visits from one side to the other of the Moroccan defensive wall, and telephone links, are put into question by the lack of finance, a spokesman from the High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, Ron Redmond, pointed out during a press conference in Geneva. [statement HCR]  [El Mundo, 05.09.07]

10-28.09.07, Council of Human Rights, Geneva, 6th session
A delegation comprising four Saharawi human rights defenders , Ahmed Hammad, Larbi Messaoud, Daha Rahmouni and Mohamed Meyara travelled to Geneva. The activists and former political prisoners spoke on various points in the Council’s agenda and also took part in a panel discussion entitled “Testimony on the serious situation in Western Sahara”. They were received at the office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights by the officer responsible for the North African department to whom they handed a letter for the Commissioner, Mrs Arbour. [--> special page with interventions and press]

10.09.07, Bologna: Conference on “Morocco and Western Sahara: human rights, self-determination for peace in the Arab Maghreb”, with the participation of Fadah Aghla Menhoum (ASVDH), de Said Sougty, member of the executive of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) and Karin Scheele, MEP and president of the European parliamentary group of support for the Saharawi people, as well as Nicola Quatrano, president  of Osservatorio internazionale per i diritti violati.

14.09.07: Conference on forced disappearance, the cases of the Sahara and Argentina, Palma de Majorque, with Christian Viret (BIRDHSO, Geneva) and Manuel Ollé Sesé, president of the Spanish Association for Human Rights.

20.09.07, Washington, United States Institute of Peace: Public Conference on
"Western Sahara: Renewed Hope to End the Stalemate? " with Anna Theofilopoulou and I. William Zartman.

HUMANITARIAN AID

27.09.07
The Spanish agency for international cooperation (AECI) distributed over 100,000 kg of camel meat in the Saharawi camps during Ramadan. This operation is estimated to have cost 250,000 euros.
[Reliefweb espanol]

30.09.07
The president of the Algerian Red Crescent, Haj Hamou Ben Zgair, went to the Saharawi camps. In a joint statement, “the Algerian Red Crescent and the Saharawi Red Crescent express their profound concern in the face of the present difficult conditions of the Saharawi refugees and particularly the gaping lack in the food basket caused by the failure of WFP to honour its commitment towards these refugees who depend essentially on international humanitarian aid”. These two organisations pointed out that the Saharawi refugees have only received “44% of the quota for the month of September." [SPS]

SOLIDARITY

04-16.09.07, London
“Saharawis: prisoners of History”, was the theme of a photographic exhibition from 4 to 16 September in the Human Rights Centre of Amnesty International in London. The exhibition was organised by the Chilean poet and photographer living in London, Carlos Reyes Manzo.

05-11.09.07, UNICEF
The Algerian branch of UNICEF organised training for  heads of primary schools in the refugee camps of Tindouf at the Sport College of Draria (Algiers). [SPS]

21.09.07, Jornada juridica internacional
A conference on international law on the conflict in Western Sahara was held in Madrid in the presence of several lawyers, researchers, and university lecturers in law from Spain, France and Italy, organised by IUJWS, the international Association of Lawyers for Western Sahara.[Rebelion]

COMING UP...

ARTIFARITI 2007 - 10 al 27 de Octubre de 2007
http://artifariti.blogspot.com/

EUCOCO 2007 - ROMA 19-21.10.07
33th European Conference of Support To the Saharawi People
NEW website: http://www.eucoco2007.org/eucoco2007/

2007  Sandblast Festival
Music, Dance, Theatre, Workshops, Photography, Paintings, Multimedia, Poetry, Films, trad. crafts, discussion Oct 18-21, 23, 29
UK Tour: Pre-festival activities (rehearsals, workshops, media): Oct 22-27
Festival period: Oct 29 - 4Nov
Locations: London, Brighton, Leeds, Whitby, Ledbury, Clun and Salusbury.

10 de Noviembre: Manifestacion de solidaridad en Madrid

INTERNET

PETITION

NEW - NOUVEAU - NUEVO BLOG

NEW - NOUVEAU - NUEVO WEB

DOCUMENTS

Elections marocaines:

Moroccan elections

Elecciones marroquies

VIDEO- FILM

CD- MUSICA

OPINIONS: http://www.arso.org/opinions/

 

NEW PUBLICATIONS
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Français
>> Revue de la presse internationale francophone http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/revue-de-presse-sahara-occidental/messages

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

Castellano
>> Revista de la prensa en español http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/revista-de-prensa-sahara-occidental/messages
>>Artículos y reportajes sobre el Sáhara Occidental en Espacios europeos: http://www.espacioseuropeos.com/saharaoc.aspx

Italiano

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Catala

Português

Svensk


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