WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

original french

WEEK 10

03.-09.03.2002

TITLES

UN - Sahara
Humanitarian aid
Mor
occo - Sahara
Mohamed VI in the Sahara
Diplomacy
Algeria - Solidarity

UN-Sahara

01.03.02: "We welcome the adoption of resolution 1394 by the Security Council. (...) We continue to support the efforts of the Secretary General and Mr Baker, his special representative. (...) The position of France has not moved. We continue to argue for a solution which is acceptable to both parties, Morocco and the Polisario, and in conformity with the principles recognised by the international community." (Spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

03.03.02: Jan Kavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Czech Republic declares, during a press conference in Algiers, that the Czech Republic "supports the United Nations settlement plan". (agencies)

04.03.02: (We call) "France to play a more constructive role this time, capable of contributing to a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara and thereby to guarantee the return of stability and peace in the region." (Ould Salek, Saharawi Minister of Foreign Affairs)

07.03.02: The parliament of Aragon passed a resolution which asks the autonomous government to reaffirm its support for the United Nations resolutions in favour of the referendum, the only way to a peaceful solution to the conflict. Aside from the humanitarian problems of the Saharawi refugees, the resolution includes a request to visit Saharawi prisoners in El Ayoun and Moroccan prisoners in the Saharawi Republic.

Humanitarian aid

02.03.02: The Saharawi Red Crescent launched an "urgent" appeal to come to the aid of the Saharawi nomad population which is victim to the drought. (SPS)

02.03.02: The regional government of Emilia Romagna (Italy) signed a cooperation agreement in the field of social and health services with the government of SADR. (SPS)

05.03.02: Partner NGOS with ECHO, the European Union's humanitarian aid agency, are proceeding with an evaluation on the ground of the food needs of the Saharawi refugees and decided to set up planning and monitoring committees. (SPS)

Morocco-Sahara

02.03.02: Abraham Serfaty: "Sharing the Sahara is not in the interest of the Saharawis, but in that of the Algerian generals. (...) I would have remarks to make about the Framework-Agreement, however, it is the best solution. Moroccan diplomacy has committed numerous mistakes and has not come up with any thing new, apart from the initiative of King Mohamed VI in 1999. (...) The greater part of Moroccan politicians have still not understood that total integration of the Sahara with Morocco was not the ideal solution."  (interview in As-Sahifa al-Ousbouiya, review of the press by the French Embassy in Rabat)

03.03.02: Abdallah Harif, national secretary of the An-Nahjad Dimoqrati Party (the democratic way): "Our position is known : we are for the right to self-determination of the inhabitants of the Sahara. (...) The third and the fourth ways are technical solutions which do not respond to the real problem, which is the question of democracy and respect of the will of the inhabitants." (As-Sahifa Al-Ousbouiya, review of the press by the French Embassy in Rabat)

04.03.02: The recent purchase by Morocco of 20 American hunter-bomber F16s financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, alters the strategic equilibrium with Spain, according to La Razon, the Madrid daily.
The training of Moroccan pilots is being provided by Belgium. In the name of the European Coordination of solidarity with the Saharawi people, Pierre Galand sent a letter to the Belgian Ministry of Defence in which he comments that "the reinforcement of Moroccan air power is subject to a real concern as to the balance of power in the region." He makes known his "astonishment and irritation in noting the Belgian involvement". He asks the minister if Belgian assistance to Morocco is in keeping with the absolute necessity to preserve peace in this region of the Maghreb.

07.03.02: Mohamed VI sends top rank emissaries to Tripoli, Tunis and Bucharest to seek support. Rabat suggests that Tunis and Tripoli question their borders with Algeria.  (Le Matin, Algiers)

08.03.02: Reporters sans frontières (Reporters without borders) protests to the Moroccan Minister of the Interior about the El Pais journalist, Ignacio Cembrero, being followed and intimidated while staying in Rabat to write articles relating to Western Sahara. (RSF)

08.03.02: The organisation "Moroccan Democratic Youth Abroad" raises the possibility of a direct dialogue with the Saharawi Union of Youth, UJSARIO. (As-Sahifa al-Ousbouiya, quoted by the review of the press by the French Embassy in Rabat)

Visit of Mohamed VI to the Sahara

04.03.02:  The Saharawi president asks the Security Council to intervene "urgently" to prevent "the dangerous escalation" which the visit of King Mohamed VI to the occupied territories of Western Sahara could bring about.  Mohamed Abdelaziz, who expressed his "concern and indignation" on the subject of  "this provocative and unwelcome expedition"  in the wrong direction.(letter full text)

04.03.02: The representative of the Polisario Front in the United Kingdom and Ireland: "The visit of the King of Morocco to the occupied territories of Western Sahara is a new act of provocation. The King of Morocco could even settle in El Ayoun, Dakhla or Smara that would change nothing. The obstinate reality is: Western Sahara is not Moroccan." (Statement)

05.03.02: Arrival of the King of Morocco in Dakhla, surrounded by impressive security measures. Mohamed VI presides over a Council of Ministers.

06.03.03: Televised speech of Mohamed VI in El Ayoun: "...categorical refusal of any proposal liable to damage the territorial integrity of Morocco and its sovereignty over its southern provinces and which threatens peace and stability in the Arab Maghreb region" "Morocco will not give up one inch of territory from its inalienable and indivisible  Sahara", "We are sure of our complete sovereignty over every acre of this land".
The King of Morocco announces the creation of "a special agency for the development of the southern provinces"  "This agency has a brief to continue the considerable efforts which have already been expended to bestow an infrastructure and basic services on these regions, in such matters as roads and ports, housing, lighting and drinking water, as well as to allow them to ensure their social development".

06.03.02: Abdellatif Guerraoui, the present governor of the El Ayoun region, is appointed Director General of the "Special Development Agency for the southern provinces".

06.03.02: The Saharawi Minister of Information, in a statement, expresses the view that the King of Morocco "has declared war on international law" and reaffirmed the continuance of its policy to "pillage the natural resources of Western Sahara", by setting up a "socio-economic development agency". (SPS)

06.03.02: The European parliamentary intergroup "Peace for the Saharawi People" deplores the trip undertaken by King Mohamed VI to the occupied territories of Western Sahara and the announcement of the creation of an "agency for the promotion of socio-economic development of the southern provinces". It stressed that such an initiative is not only totally contrary to the principles of international law, but also provocative.

06.03.03: interview of Mohamed Abdelaziz: "Since the death of Hassan II all the actions of the Moroccan powers have been marked by various political faults, pre-emptiveness, "ignoring" reality, provocations and showing the will to escalation". "The latest report of the UN secretary general is distinguished  by more objectivity, seriousness and fairness (...) because it foresees (...) the return to the peace plan concluded in Houston between Morocco and the Polisario Front. Therefore, a return to the option of the referendum of self-determination, (...) that the UN should organise " "for the first time in eleven years, the UN secretary general (...) clearly points out the party which was at the origin of the blockage in the peace process, namely Morocco. For our part, and even if we give priority to the first option (the referendum), we are ready, as we have always been, to collaborate with the UN secretary general and his special representative, Mr James Bakes, to sort out any solution going in the direction of the interests of our people." "On 27 February last, Mr Baker was invited to a meeting of the Security Council." (...) He replied (to a question on the viability of a Saharawi state) that "all the elements which would constitute an independent Saharawi state had come together." (Le Soir d'Algérie)

07.03.02: Meeting in an extraordinary session, the national secretariat of the Polisario Front condemns the visit undertaken by the King of Morocco to the occupied territories of Western Sahara and calls the policies of Rabat "intransigent and pre-emptive". (SPS)

Diplomacy

04.03.02: Sadafa Bahia, Saharawi Ambassador in Ethiopia, presents his credentials as permanent representative of SADR to the OAU. The General Secretary of OAU on this occasion renews the position of his organisation in favour or a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara.

Algeria - Solidarity

04.03.02: A delegation of the Algerian Committee of Solidarity with the Saharawi People was received by the president of the Algerian Parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah. Mehrez Mohamed Lamari, president of the Committee, announced a week of solidarity with the Saharawi people, which will take place from 19 to 30 March throughout Algeria.

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