Suleimane Tayeb Ahmed Salema, the new Ambassador of the SADR in Panama, presented his letters of credence to the Panamean President Ernesto Barez Balladares. On this occasion he exprimed his thanks for the support of Panama. On its side the Panamean government reaffirmed its solidarity and support to the SADR in order to find a solution to the conflict.
In a common press release the Algerian and the Ethiopian Ministers of Foreign Affairs exprimed their satisfaction after the Houston agreements and appealed to the international community to continue to support the implementation of the peace plan in order to organize a free , fair and impartial referendum in Western Sahara.
The "Paris-Dakar" rally
This contested rally will take place next year from 1 to 18 January and will cross Moroccan and occupied Western Sahara territories. Smara will be a stopping place.
The delegate of the regional government of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, Carlos Moro and the local responsible of the F. Polisario, Ahmedou Mohamed Fadel, decided the creation of a permanent coordination of the humanitarian aid to the Saharawi people with special attention to the Saharawi children spending holidays in families of this province.
United Maghreb Union
The secretary of the United Maghreb Union, Mohamed Amadou, declared in an interview at the arab edition of the radio "Voice of America" that the Western Sahara conflict has undermined for decades the construction of the Maghreb. He added that the Houston agreements between Polisario and Morocco can open new perspectives and show positive issues for the Maghreb.
Visit of President Mohamed Abdelaziz in Spain, I
The Saharawi president, accompanied by an important delegation, begins a friendly visit to Spain. The visit will be devoted to necessary exchanges of views just before the resumption of the crucial step of voter identification in the frame of the UN peace plan. Soon after his arrival at Barajas airport of Madrid, the Saharawi President held talks with the Spanish Foreign Minister Abel Matutes. The discussions turned around the latest developments of the Western Sahara question. The President will meet different political, trade union and other democratic institutions. At a meeting with the press at the airport, the President declared that his visit in Spain takes place in a historical moment for his country and for the region (Communique of the SADR Ministry of Information).
Visit of President Mohamed Abdelaziz in Spain, II
In a press conference held in Madrid Abdelaziz declared he met with Minister Matutes and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress and asked Spain to play an active role in the referendum. He added that some Moroccan initiatives cast doubt on the will of this country to respect the Houston agreements: the visit of Minister of Interior Basri in the occupied territories as well as the announced visit of the King in El Ayun in March 1998.
Getting ready for the referendum I
120 chiukhs from occupied Western Sahara finished their workshops meant to prepare the voter identification according to the Houston agreements.
Getting ready for the referendum II
The National Independent Union (Moroccan centrist Party), appeals to stop the controversies after the legislative elections of November 14th, in order to mobilize all the nation behind King Hassan II for a solution of the Western Sahara conflict, which must be in favour of Morocco. This party is leaded by Ahmed Osman, former Prime Minister and brother in law of the king.
Repatriation of the refugees (Interview of a UNHCR responsible in the newspaper El Pais)
The UNHCR has foreseen the repatriation of about 135'000 refugees by airplane from Tindouf. Less than the half of the 160'000 refugees are included in the Spanish census, declared Daniel Mora, member of the organization, but the Polisario Front asked for their repatriation with their families, their cattle and their goods. Between June and September 1998 every day about 2'000 persons will be embarked in Tindouf for El Ayoun, Smara, Dakhla and Boujdour and also Aguenit, Tifariti and Mehairiz in the liberated territories. The Saharawis living in Mauritania, Canary Islands and Cuba, about 10'000 persons, will also be convoyed to the votation centers. The cattle and the goods will be transported by 2'500 trips of trucks of 10 tonnes. According to the same source there is a dangerous pollution in the camps of the water of the wells with fecal material. The HCR will start an urgent appeal for funds (2 millions of $) in order to make them healthier.
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