WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 29

15.-21.07.2001

11-16.07.01
Referendum / Framework-Agreement: more reactions

11.07.01
Joint declaration: The German Association of Democratic Lawyers (ADL) and the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (EALDH), with deep concern took note of the recent report of the UN-Secretary General on the situation concerning Western Sahara (S/2001/613). With this report and the proposed "framework agreement" therein the UN-Secretary General departs from the path for the implementation of a just and peaceful solution of the conflict based on the strict respect of international law. It is instead leading towards a de facto recognition of the illegal Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara and shifts the realization of the right to self-determination for the Sahrawi People, if ever, to an uncertain future. It therefore does not comply with the obligation of the Secretary General and the Security Council as mentioned in Art. 24 para. 2 of the UN-Charter to act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and to promote the enforcement of international law.

The ADL and EALDH therefore urge all members of the United Nations Security Council:

14.07.01
Algeria: Concerning the question of Western Sahara, Bouteflika reaffirmed, during his visit to the USA, Algeria's rejection of the latest proposals from the former Secretary of State, James Baker. "Algeria, who makes no claim, could not accept this departure from the peace plan or the Houstan plan in the report, Mr Bouteflika again asserted. The problem of Western Sahara is a problem between Morocco and the Polisario, Bouteflika insisted, indicating that Algeria had received an invitation to attend a meeting in Houston. "If there is agreement between the two parties (Polisario-Morocco) Algeria will give its blessing, he assured. He called for the opening of the way to a satisfactory solution and warned against "compromise solutions", if self-determination came to be judged inapplicable.
(aps)

16.07.01: Great Britain - House of Commons
Over 40 people, parliamentarians and their assistants, representatives of NGOs, trades unions and human rights organisations and the press as well as lawyers, attended a public debate in the House of Commons organised by Lord Redesdale, secretary of the parliamentary intergroup on Western Sahara. Breica Lehbib, Polisario Front representative in London, presented the situation created by the proposed Framework-Agreement. Tess Kingham, outgoing chair of the intergroup, talking about the Framework-Agreement said: "It is disingenuous of people at high diplomatic level to be promoting this document. The Algerian response sums it up: it is designed simply to legalise Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara." Tess Kingham  added that the UN could not claim to be offering self-determination to the Saharawis if the right to vote was not limited to the people concerned. One questioner asked if the proposal was a trap? It has been put forward knowing that the Polisario Front could not accept it. Their refusal could make them appear to be the party creating difficulties. Lord Redesdale announced that he would soon re-constitute the intergroup on Western Sahara in the new parliament (
WSC press release)

16.07.01
The special representative for Western Sahara, James Baker, replied with an open
letter to a recent article in the British weekly, The Economist, which pointed out the about turn of the UN in the Western Sahara conflict, which it wants to resolve by bestowing the status of autonomy. Baker disputes this analysis and affirms that the UN is not abandoning the settlement plan and that there would indeed be a referendum.
The British NGO Western Sahara Campaign recalls in a
statement that this vote would permit hundreds of thousands of Moroccan settlers to determine the future of the territory, which is not compatible with UN resolution 1514 (1960).

16.07.01
The Spanish League for Human Rights sent a
letter to the UN secretary general to protest against the biased attitude of his personal envoy James Baker and to ask for a commission to be set up to evaluate, verify and regulate the exploitation of the territory's resources, as has been done in other situations (Namibia, RDC, etc).

14.07.01
Protest
33 organisations and 10 professors from various German universities signed a letter to the president of the Bundestag (parliament), Wolfgang Thierse, to oppose the act of the Free University of Berlin in giving an honorary doctorate to the UN SG, Kofi Annan, in recognition of his work in resolving international conflicts. They reproached him for giving in to pressure from France on the question of Western Sahara, going against the very principles of the UN Charter. A symbolic demonstration was organised in front of the Bundestag during the ceremony bestowing the award, in which NGOs and students waving a big Saharawi flag took part. Margot Kessler, president of the European Parliament's intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi people", believes that Mr Annan has "turned his back on the UN Charter, (...) and to his role as mediator in conflicts". Mrs Kessler expressed the hope that during his new mandate,  Kofi Annan "would also find a solution for the last conflict of decolonisation of the continent".
(SPS)

14.07.01
Diplomacy
Malainine Sadik, Ambassador of SADR in Algeria, was received by Mr Koumba Yalla, president of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, who reaffirmed his support of the legitimate right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.

17.07.01
France
Les Guides de France, the French movement of scouting for girls, organised an international forum about the major problems in society and today's world. Alongside the Italian, Welsh, Polish delegations, and associated organisations  (CCFD, ACAT etc...), church personalities,  Khadija Hamdi, Saharawi parliamentarian in charge of information and culture in the Union of Saharawi Women, as well as Régine Villemont, general secretary of the French Association of Friends of SADR, took part in leading a discussion on peace. The Guides de France from Aix en Provence this year welcomed a group of 11 Saharawi children.

19.07.01
Accidental death of a Saharawi child in Spain
A Saharawi child aged 7, on holiday near Badajoz, was drowned while playing near a canal.

SOLIDARITY

14.07.01: Solidarity demonstration in Madrid
Hundreds of Saharawi children, accompanied by their Spanish host families, celebrated on Plaza Mayor in Madrid  the festival of solidarity, appealing to Spain to abandon its neutrality in the conflict which it started in its former colony, Western Sahara, without having led the people to self-determination.
(SPS)

INTERNET

Sahara News Papers: http://webcindario.com/sahara-news . Sitio relisado por un grupo de investigadores de la Universidad de Girona que trabaja en la recuperación y estudio del patrimonio cultural del Sáhara Occidental.

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