WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 13 - 14 : 25.03. - 07.04.2007

original french

 

SADR

SADR
26.03.07
The president of the Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, welcomed the newly elected Mauritanian president, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. He also congratulated Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, president of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, head of the Mauritanian state, for the success of the presidential elections. [SPS]

31.03.07,
The President of the Republic underlined in a speech, during a lunch offered on the occasion of the birth of the prophet (Maouloud) to about a hundred people, notables, political leaders, members of government and parliament as well as national officials, that the Saharawi people are more than ever determined to reject “any solution which does not respect our right to self-determination to independence”. “Moroccan attempts to impose the colonial fait accompli through a so-called autonomy plan, as well as being unilateral, unacceptable and illegal, can only plunge the region into a new period of instability, war and suffering” for both the Saharawi and Moroccan peoples. [SPS]

01.04.07
The Saharawi athlete, Salah Hmatou, among 300 runners, took the 11th 10 km race in Montélimar in 30' 58''.
05-07.04.07, 5th congress of the Union of Saharawi Women
Hundreds of delegates and several foreign delegations took part in the congress, which had the theme “Saharawi women – a force mobilized for independence and progress”. Aminatou Haidar took part by direct link with the occupied territories. The delegates will elect a new secretary general and an executive committee. In workshops they are developing their program of short term and long term action.
[SPS] [Note de presse UNFS du 3 mars 2007]  [Nota de prensa, UNMS, 03.04.07]  [Page spéciale en arabe [Speach of SADR president ]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

23.03.07, testimony
A new example occurred of arbitrary police behaviour towards a Saharawi citizen. Hussein Al-Hiri, 1984, was questioned by a plainclothes policeman and struck in the face. Hussein pushed him away. He was taken in a car outside the town and violently beaten. The blows stopped on the intervention of a witness. Taken back into town, Hussein was interrogated about the presence of flags and graffiti hostile to Morocco. He will be prosecuted for attacking a policeman.  [ASVDH]

30.03.07, repression
The authorities in El Ayoun partially destroyed the property of the Saharawi former trades unionist, Eddia Sidi Ahmed Moussa, a delegate of the former Saharawi workers in Phosboucraa. This act has as its objective to ruin him economically because of his attachment to self-determination and his opposition to the autonomy proposal. His son, Sidi Brahim, has been protesting since 23 March by sitting in outside the town offices against human rights abuses in Western Sahara and in particular against the violations of the rights of Saharawi workers. [corr.]

NATURAL RESOURCES

01-03.02.07, archeology
Several dozen African and European archeologists and researchers, meeting in Nouakchott, in Mauritania, lauched the Nouakchott Appeal
which calls for international mobilization for the “protection and valuing of archeological remains”.
[L'Appel de Nouakchott pour le patrimoine africain, Dominique Raizon, RFI, 17.03.07]  [Afrique, SOS pillages. Sylvie Briet, Libération, Paris, 24.03.07]. 


25.02.07, phosphates
The Elver, a boat sailing under a Cypriot flag, arrived on 25 February 2007 in Baranquilla, Colombia, carrying 14,250 tonnes of phosphates coming from El-Ayoun.
[document takes a long time to upload]

28.03.2007, fishing agreement (continued)
Abderrahman El-Yazidi, secretary general of the Union of Officers of deep sea fishing, which has 7000 members out of the 10,000 sailors in Morocco, declared on the subject of the EU-Morocco fishing agreement: “Nothing more can stop the European fleet from beginning to fish. This 119-boat-strong fleet…will represent…a huge fishing effort which is bound to have unfavourable effects on various fish stocks… The fishing sector in Morocco is dying. The advantages of this agreement for Morocco, apart from the alleged political dimension which escapes me, I cannot see any!”  On the subject of the introduction of the goods and services tax on gasoil: “…we must also recognized that there is widespread traffic in motor fuel coming from the [Western] Sahara which makes many farmers and military and civilian officials happy”. 
[Yabiladi.com, 28.03.07]

REFERENDUM

24.03.07, UN
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Western Sahara, Julian Harston, carried out a 24-hour visit to the Saharawi Republic, in the context of his tour of the region. Harston was welcomed by the population, officials and the wali of the wilaya of Smara. He met shiouk, members of parliament and notables, before being received by the coordinator with MINURSO, Mhamed Khadad and finally by the President of the Republic. [SPS]

24.03.07, Algeria-USA
Mohammed Bedjaoui, Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs, emphasized to APS, after his discussions at UN headquarters, that he had “made the different members of the Security Council aware of the historical responsibility which could fall on them if they managed to get out of international law by endorsing the Moroccan proposal for internal autonomy”. Questioned after making contact with American diplomats, the minister said he had experienced a more marked “interest” on the part of those he spoke with, “including Mrs Rice”, who showed “a willingness to see a solution sketched out which would re-establish stability in the region. The Americans say they would hold to the implementation of solutions taken within the UN.” 
[Elmoudjahid, 25.03.07]

27.03.07, Italy
Massimo D'Alema, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met a Moroccan delegation, who presented the autonomy proposal to him. D'Alema stated that he would study the proposal when it is formalized.
[Ministerio AE]

27.03.07, UK
In a letter sent to Kim Howells, Secretary of State in charge of the Near East and International Security, Labour members of the city of London considered that the United Kingdom, as a permanent member of the Security Council, “is well placed to play a vital role towards finding a just and peaceful solution to the conflict of decolonization in Western Sahara”. These MPs, who had met Ali Salem Tamek (see week 9-10/2007), called for action by Britain to guarantee his security when he returns to Western Sahara in the near future. [SPS]

27.03.07, Colombia
The two chambers of the Colombian parliament adopted separately and unanimously, a resolution reaffirming their support for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence. Earlier the Latin-American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) had likewise adopted a resolution unanimously, supporting the self-determination of the Saharawi people and calling on Morocco to decolonize Western Sahara in accordance with UN resolutions. [SPS]

28.03.07, Belgium
The position of Algeria on the question of Western Sahara “blends completely with that of the international community” and is based on principles established by international law, the Algerian deputy minister for Foreign Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, in the course of meetings with the president of the Senate, Anne-Marie Lizin, the head of Belgian diplomacy, Karol de Gucht and the Committee for External Relations of the Senate.
[SPS]
The same committee, in the course of a presentation on Western Sahara, heard from the Saharawi minister delegate for Europe, Mohamed Sidati, senators, Pierre Galand, Josy Dubié and Jacinta De Roek.[SPS]
Two days earlier it had heard from the Moroccan delegation received by the Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt.

28.03.07, Italy
Rosa Iervolino Russo, mayor of Naples, questioned through a letter, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, on the dramatic situation in which the Saharawi people have been living for thirty years, exhorting him to implement the resolutions of the United Nations on this question. [SPS]

28.03.07, South Africa
The president of the parliamentary groups of the Pan Africanist Congress, (PAC), Mofihli Likotsi reaffirmed “the position of his party of support for self-determination of the Saharawi people, in the course of a reception of the Saharawi ambassador to South Africa in the national parliament.  [SPS]

29.03.07, USA
Senators Russell Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Africa, Patrick Leahy, Member of appropriation committee in the Senate, and James Inhofe, Member of Senate Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President G.W. Bush to denounce the Moroccan autonomy proposal, contrary to international law and to the right to self-determination. The senators regretted that MINURSO’s mandate, following France’s intervention in the Security Council, had not enlarged to include monitoring of human rights. They asked their ambassador to the UN to act in this sense during the meeting devoted to Western Sahara.[original letter]

29.03.07, UK
The Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, M'hamed Khaddad, was received in the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement, Khaddad
had noticed in them “a constant position in favour of a just and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara ensuring the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination”. “The big media noise, accompanying the travels of the Moroccan delegation in charge of explaining the autonomy plan, explains in reality the impasse in which Morocco finds itself…”, Khaddad pointed out. “Is it logical to ask countries to support a plan whose content they are ignorant of, and which, on top, asks the international community to bury international law and to legalise the colonial fait accompli?”, Khaddad wondered. [SPS]

30.03.-01.04.07
The European Community Organisation of Socialist Youth (ECOSY), in a resolution adopted during its 8th Congress in Warsaw, rejected the Moroccan autonomy proposal for Western Sahara, calling the proposal “unilateral, illegal and anti-democratic”. [SPS]

02.04.07, EU
The German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, president of the EU, received Abdelkader Messahel, Algerian deputy minister for Foreign Affairs. The two parties discussed developments in the question of Western Sahara. Steinmeier underlined the unchanging support towards all the efforts deployed, notably within the framework of the United Nations, to reach a peaceful and consensual solution. [Press statement]

02-03.04.07, Italy-Morocco
The Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs D'Alema, this time on an official visit to Morocco, pronounced himself in Rabat in favour of direct dialogue between Algeria and Morocco to find a solution to the problem in Western Sahara. [agencies]

02-03.04.07, Italy
Khaddad, Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, met in Rome representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of parliament as well as political officials from the opposition and the coalition in government. [SPS]

02.04.07
The President of the Norwegian Parliament, Thorbjorn Jagland, on a visit to Morocco from 31.03. to 04.04., raised with the authorities in Rabat the question of human rights in Western Sahara. [Verdensmagasinet X, 02.04.07]

04.04.07, UN
The British President of the Security Council for the month of April, Emyr Jones Parry, announced during a press conference that the Moroccan autonomy proposal would be presented on 10 April to the Council. Jones Parry doubts that a lasting solution will be found in the coming months, but he is certain that MINURSO’s mandate will be renewed.
[Reliefweb]

05-04-2007, France
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Philippe Douste-Blazy, received another Moroccan ministerial delegation led by Taieb Fassi-Fihri, deputy Foreign Minister. The talks had bearing on the coming deadlines in the United Nations concerning the Western Sahara issue. The ideas presented by the Moroccans “seem to provide a possible basis for taking up negotiations again…the process which is opening offers the possibility of leading to an agreed political solution by all the parties within the framework of the United Nations”, a spokesperson from the Quai d'Orsay said.
[point de presse 05.04.07] [point de presse 06.04.07, plus détaillé] 

MOROCCO

24.03.07
The American law firm and lobby consultancy, Tew Cardenas http://www.tewcardenas.com/ signed a contract with the Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP), a pro-Moroccan organisation http://www.moroccanamericanpolicy.com/ to promote Morocco with American political officials. [Tel Quel, Maroc, 266]
 

24.03.07, statement
According to Fouad Ali El Himma, Moroccan deputy Minister for the Interior, “as an organization, the Polisario Front itself, which retains a Marxist-Leninist ideology, is not associated with Al Qaeda. On the contrary, certain individuals have, in their own right, made links with GSPC which controls southern Algeria.” No formal proof has to this day been provided by the Moroccan security service on alleged links of the Polisario Front with terrorist organizations. [Le Journal Hebdo, Maroc, 24.03.07]

HUMAN RIGHTS

27-29.03.07, Council of Human Rights, Geneva
Interventions:
M'Hamed Mohamed Cheikh, in the name of the International Movement of Youth and Students for the United Nations and the International Organisation for the Development of Education;
[texte complet]  Keltoum Irbah (sociologist), in the name of Interfaith International [texte complet]; Gianfranco Fattorini, Secretary General in the name of the Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) [texte complet] 

28.03.07,Amnesty International
Visit to the French branch  by Ali Salem Tamek, human rights defender. [compte-rendu]

04.04.07
The President of the Saharawi Republic, Mohamed Abdelaziz, asked the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to publish the report of the UN  High Commission for Human Rights concerning its inquiry into human rights in Western Sahara in May and June 2006. He hopes that MINURSO will be provided with “mechanisms capable of protecting the Saharawis”. [SPS]

HUMANITARIAN AID

21.03.07, UNHCR
In a long letter to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Gutierrez, the president of the Saharawi Red Crescent refuted the arguments having led to the reduction in food aid and invites Gutierrez to visit the refugee camps.

28.03.07, Spain
1000 tonnes of rice sent by AECI, the Spanish agency for international cooperation, arrived in the Saharawi refugee camps, transported from Oran with the assistance of 46 trucks. The distribution of a kg of rice a month per person will be possible for 8 months. The AECI’s program comprises sending a further 166,000 litres of sunflower oil as well as the purchase, on the ground, of basic foodstuffs. [Afrol spanish]

SOLIDARITY

18.03.07, Australia
The Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA), sent a letter to the UN Secretary General on the occasion of his appointment.
[Letter]
http://awsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/letterunsecgenmar071.pdf

24.03.07, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
At the instigation of the Association of Saharawi émigrés in Tenerife, about 300 Saharawi gathered to condemn the repression exercised by Morocco in Western Sahara against the civilian population and the unilateral proposal for autonomy. [SCSCanarias]

24.03.07, Stockholm
The Swedish Committee for Western Sahara, in a political statement approved during its annual meeting, expects its government to continue to defend international law, particularly in the Security Council, and asks it to recognize SADR.
[Sweden must defend international law in Western Sahara]

25.03.07, Italy
In the course of his meeting with the Saharawi Minister for Cooperation, Salek Baba Hacena, Monica Donini, the President of the Legislative Assembly of Emilia Romagna, who visited the camps in April 2006, reiterated the wish of her region to “support the Saharawi people in its peaceful struggle for independence”. She recalled the motion voted on 23 November 2006 by the Legislative Assembly of the region and expressed her concern for the “precarious situation”, which the Saharawi population in the refugee camps are experiencing, following the reduction in international humanitarian aid. [SPS]
[Risoluzione 23.11.06] 

26.03.07, Canaries
The Canarias Prize, awarded by the local government, was given in the domain of actions of altruism and solidarity [Acciones Altruistas y Solidarias]  to the Asociación Canaria de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui. [corr.]

27.03.07, London
A Saharawi cultural evening was held at Canning House, the second of this kind in the space of a week, at the initiative of Sandblast, within a campaign to raise awareness of the Saharawi question in the United Kingdom.

28-29.03.07, Madrid
Jornadas de agrónomos: "Una ventana abierta al Sáhara", Madrid. Para más información :
http://www.etsia.upm.es

29.03.07, Stockholm
Conference and debate on “the situation in Western Sahara and the occupied territories in particular” at the Olof Palme international centre, chaired by Anne Lind, international relations officer of the Swedish Social Democrat party. Among the speakers were the Swedish journalist,
Lars Bjork, the director of the review 20 May, the central organ of the Polisario Front, Hamdi Hafed, and B. Johanssen, responsible for external relations for the city of Stockholm.
[Palme Center]

27.03.07, Death of Dr. David H. Smith, pioneer of the Saharawi cause in the United States and father of Teresa K. Smith de Cherif [--> opinions], at the age of 90.

COMING UP...

Barcelona, Concentració amb pancartes i xiulets davant la Subdelegació del Govern espanyol (carrer Mallorca núm. 278) a les 19 hores. 12 d'abril. Comitè català Aminetu Haidar per l'alliberament de tots els presos polítics sahrauís. Per a més informació:  sah_ahaidar@yahoo.es

Segovia, Sahara en el Corazon, Jornadas de acercamiento a la cultura saharaui, Escuela Universitaria de Magisterio, 12 y 13 de abril, desde las 18 h. Infos: ceas-sahara[at]ceas-sahara.es - http://www.uva.es/voluntariado

Bruxelles, Conférence « Ressources naturelles et droits de l'homme », 17.4.2007 de 9.30 à 12.30 H. au Parlement européen, Rue Wiertz 60 Salle 1G3. Infos: sahraoui.comite[at]oxfamsol.be

Madrid, concentración de 12:00 a 14:00 horas del sábado día 21 de abril de 2007, en la C/ Buen Suceso, esquina C/ Ferraz de Madrid, bajo el lema de: La legalidad internacional repudia la autonomia como solución en el Sahara Occidental. Comunidad Saharaui en España. Email: justiciaparasahara[at]saharalibre.es

INTERNET

Documents

OPINIONS: http://opinions.arso.org

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

Nuevo libro
Los últimos de África. Crónica de la presencia española en el continente africano, Pablo de Dalmases, Almuzara Ediciones, Córdoba, 2007, Páginas: 172

Italiano
Attualità in italiano: El Ouali Bologna: http://www.saharawi.org/saharawi.htm + Radio for Peace http://www.radiokcentrale.it/du.htm

Deutsch

Norsk

Svensk


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