WEEK 22, 27.05-02.06.1996
Spain's Prime Minister visit to Morocco.
Jose Maria Aznar, who has stressed that relations with Morocco have a
high priority, conferred with King Hassan on his first trip abroad
since becoming government's head. Aznar told the Moroccan monarch
that Spain backs Rabat's offer to host the second Euro-Mediterranean
conference. He promises to ease Moroccan debt and ended two days of
intensive talks with Moroccan leaders with a pledge to press ahead
with plans to build a tunnel linking their countries. He also said
the foreign ministers of both countries had been asked to head a
joint commission to see how to ease Morocco's debt to Spain,
estimated at $2 billion. On the question of the Western Sahara, Aznar
repeated his country's backing for a U.N. referendum to resolve the
fate of the former Spanish territory.
In prevision of the vote of the European Parliament about the
EU-Morocco accord the MEP's opinions are controversial. While the
majority of European Parliament's foreign affairs committee voted on
28.5. in favour of a wide-ranging accord, Parliaments developping
Committee voted on the same day to withold approval until the EU
obtained guarantees that the Rabat government would respect UN
resolutions on Western Sahara and improve respect for human rights
before the agreement came into force. EU ministers cannot sign the
proposed pact, COM(95)740, which is similar to association agreements
already signed with Tunisia and Israel, unless it is backed by a
majority of MEPs.
U.N. Security Council Resolution on Western Sahara S/RES/1056-1996.
The Security Council, in its unanimous resolution adopted without
debate, accepted the secretary-general's recommendation to suspend
voter identification "until such time as both parties provide
concrete and convincing evidence that they are committed to resuming
and completing it without further obstacles."
Boutros-Ghali said in his report that more than 60,000 voter
applicants had been identified so far, though more than 156,000
remained to be processed. The council also supported his
recommendation for a 20 percent reduction in MINURSO's military
component, from 288 observers to 230. All but a handful of some 40
U.N. civilian police will also be withdrawn. But a U.N. political
office will be retained to continue a dialogue with the two sides and
try to resolve differences. The council approved another six-month
renewal of the pared-down MINURSO, until Nov. 30. Morocco and
Polisario were called on to continue respecting the ceasefire and to
demonstrate goodwill by cooperating with the United Nations in
carrying out certain aspects of its plan for the territory, such as
the release of Saharan political prisoners and the exchange of
prisoners of war on humanitarian grounds. Both sides were reminded
that, in the absence of significant progress in the coming months,
the council "will have to consider other measures, including possible
further reductions in the strength of MINURSO." Boutros-Ghali was
asked to continue his efforts to break the deadlock and to submit a
report by Aug. 31. His next report on the overall Western Sahara
operation is due by Nov. 10.
The Polisario Front hinted that it would resort to war rather than
let Morocco retain control over the territory in the absence of a
political solution. "The Polisario Front will never accept, under any
circumstances, the imposition of a colonial fait accompli by the
maintenance of the status quo through the U.N.-monitored ceasefire,"
the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) said in a statement. "The
next few weeks will show the seriousness of the will, or lack of it,
to resolve the obstacles to the U.N. peace plan. That will be the
true test to determine the direction of future events, whether
towards peace or war," the statement added.
Inocencio Arias, director-general of the Diplomatic Information
Office (Spanish Foreign Ministry press office) declared in an
interview by the Spanish radio: "We are sorry and we regret that this
(the adoption of the resolution by the Security council) should have
occurred. We have always believed that the Sahara question was a
problem of decolonization and that the final solution to it will come
about when the Sahrawi people has expressed himself onhis future and
his destiny by means of a free referendum, with guarantees..."
Violation of the cease-fire
The Information Ministery of the SADR communicates that two Moroccan
fighters flied over the region of Dougaj, South of Western Sahara
"just in the moment as the Security Council was adopting the
resolution calling the two parties to demonstrate the political will
to permit the implimentation of the settlement plan".
Joint moroccan-sahrawi declaration
Representatives of the Sahrawi Youth Union and the Moroccan Youth of
the USFP, the Socialist Party of Popular Forces, met on April 26 in
Limassol (Cyprus) under the auspices of IUSY, the International Union
of Socialist Youth. The two organisations published a joint
declaration, in which they "support the efforts toward the search of
a quick issue of the Western Sahara conflict." "They appeal to both
parties to begin a direct dialog".(full text
The Association des Jeunes et des Etudiants Sahraouis en France AJESF
express in a press release its satisfaction about this event: "It is
a gleam of hope toward a peacefull solution in the conflict".
Summary Weekly News,
- L'ONU interpellée par l'OUA, El Watan, Alger,
- Sortir de l'impasse, R. A., Le Matin, Alger, 29.05.96
- L'ONU sollicitée, L'Authentique, Alger, 29.05.96
- L'OUA appelle l'ONU à sauvegarder le processus de paix,
El Moudjahid, Alger, 29.05.96
ONU suspende el referendum en el Sahara, Cano Antonio, El
Pais, Madrid, 30.05.96
- Redémarrage du plan ? R. A. , Le Matin, Alger,
- Le Front Polisario n'acceptera en aucun cas la
perpétuation d'un fait accompli colonial, El Moudjahid,
- La crainte d'un fait accompli, El Watan, Alger, 01.06.96
- Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU réaffirme
son attachement à l'organisation d'un
référendum au Sahara occidental, La Tribune, Alger,
- Situation des droits de l'homme au Sahara
occidental, AFAPREDESA, mai 1996, 4 p.
- Boletin informativo No. I/3, Abril 1996, Embajada de la RASD
(Mexico), 8 p.
- Romper el empate en el Sahara Occidental, Chopra Jarat,
Cuadernos juridicos, No. III/40, Abril 1996, pp. 13-23.