Discussions in Rome
The Sahrawi president held political discussions in Rome with a number of Italian officials. They had affirmed that they would spare no efforts in urging their European counterparts and international institutions to examine the saharan issue. They had expressed their readiness to defend the principal of hokding a democratic and free referendum and encourage any negociation between Morocco and the Polisario Front.
29.04.96 VISIT OF KING HASSAN II IN FRANCE
Letter to the French President Chirac (french)
Twelve french NGOs addressed a letter to President Chirac in occasion of the visit of King Hassan II in France. They ask him to facilitate an official meeting between Moroccan authorities and the Polisario Front.
The "Association des Amis de la RASD" appeals to a public manifestation on Monday May 6th in Paris in favor of the peace plan and the liberation of the Sahrawi prisoners .
"Appel pour les droits de l'homme au Maroc " organizes a public manifestation on Tuesday May 7th in Paris, at the same place where took place in 1965 the kidnapping of the Moroccan political leader Mehdi Ben Barka.
In an article published by Jeune Afrique the OAU Secretary-General wrote: "The identification process of the voters in Western Sahara continues to be hindered by enormous difficulties resulting, on one side, from the 100'000 applications of Moroccan citizens, and on the other side, from the problem of the applicants issued of some tribes which, acccording to the Polisario, were not present in the Spanish census in 1974 .
The situation continues to be very worrying while no sensible progress has been registered. I believe that it is important to establish the dialogue between the two parties in order to reach a common platform about the contentious points and all other questions, in order to facilitate the quick implementation of the UN settlement plan and to find a lasting and peacefull solution of the conflict."
In an interview by the French television France 2 the king of Morocco has denied that Moroccan prisoners who are favourable to the Polisario, are considered as prisoners of conscience. There are no prisoners of conscience in Morocco, he added. The prisoners liberated in 1994 were "not political prisoners, because they were against the return to our homeland of our "Alsace-Lorraine" which is the Sahara".
About Cannabis, (Morocco is the major supplier for Europe, 70% of the seizures in 1994), the King admitted he could not stop the production. He estimed that he could, with the help of France, reconvert, in 2 or 3 years, the culture in a part of the kingdom.
In a communiqué (french) the AFAPREDESA notes that
Declaration of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. de Charette qualified the visit of Hassan II in France as "a very important event". About Western Sahara he declared that France is concerned by the implementation of the UN settlement plan and wishes that the results of MINURSO's presence would be preserved.