Multinational military training (04.09.97)
An important multinational military training will happen in February 1998 in Western Africa, involving army forces of France, Senegal, Mauritania and Mali. The subject: refugees, security and humanitarian intervention. UK, USA and other countries will also be involved (Source: French Ministry of Defense)
International Conference of Support to the Peace Plan for Western Sahara
Flash back: 200 participants, VIPs, politicians, ONG and solidarity group responsibles and medias met for 4 days in the refugee camps near Tindouf. ( see week 39)
In his speech the coordinator of the AFAPREDESA (Association of families of prisoners and disappeared Saharawis) painted a black image of the violations of human rights in the territories controlled by Morocco and denounced the falsification of the electorate .He asked for warranties of freedom of speech and movement for the Saharawi population during the referendum process and the free access to the territory for observers and international medias (full text in Spanish and French).
The SADR president Mohamed Abdelaziz in his speech ( full text in Spanish) stressed that the Polisario Front would abide by and respect the Saharawi people's choice if the result of the referendum was in favour of Morocco, under the condition that the referendum is fair, free and democratic by allowing only Saharawis to vote. He also asked Mr James Baker to stay in his position of Special Envoy: " If Baker goes, the Saharawi people will suffer from it".
The political declaration and final resolution worked out by the participants of the Conference underlines the importance of the actual evolution for a pacific resolution of the conflict and recall that the balance is precarious. Remembering the cleverness Morocco showed in the recent past to deadlock the peace plan, they call for prudence. The participants established a schedule for the support of a fair and free referendum, with appropriate steps in order to warrant the transparency of the electoral process, the freedom of movement and speech of the Saharawi people in the occupied territories, an unfalsified electorate, and the presence of observers and international medias during the process.
Security Council Resolution, S/1997/1131
The Security Council extends the mandate of the MINURSO until 20 October 1997, to prepare for the resumption of the process of identifying prospective voters and to enable concerned members of the Council to consult with their authorities on a proposed expansion of the Mission. A United Nations technical survey mission would be leaving for the region on October 6 and would stay for about 10 days. Based on their findings, the Secretariat would prepare a report with details on the timetable, deployment of civilian staff and financial implications of resumption of the peace mission there.
The provisional timetable will be, without unforseen, the following:
Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) of U.N. General Assembly
The representative of Morocco suggested that the Committee defers consideration of the matter of W.S., in order to avoid undermining the positive results of recent developments concerning Western Sahara. This proposition will be discussed on October 6. The representative of Morocco suggested otherwise that the Committee conduct consultations on the matter of W. S. before the Committee began its debate on decolonization matters. The Chairman accepted his proposal.
On the occasion of a visit in Morocco the Austrian Foreign Affairs Secretary of State Mrs B. Ferrero-Waldner reaffirms the support of her country to the UN Peace plan for W.S. and wishes that this plan establish a lasting peace in the region.
What they said:
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