Death of a friend
It is with deep sadness that the friends of the Saharawis in England report the death last week of David (Davy) Loyne of Newcastle suddenly of a heart attack. Davy was known to many Saharawis as the Rainbow Rovers and Saharawan Aid Trust/Frienship Force bus driver on a number of British convoys to the refugee camps. He was also a dedicated fundraiser for the cause of providing humanitarian aid to the refugees. He was a big man, in size, heart and humour but his love for the Saharawis and his belief of the right of their cause was total.
Algeria's former defence minister Khaled Nezzar, who still wields huge influence, said in the Algerian newspaper El Watan, that the Moroccan government wanted, more than five years ago, to trade its cooperation in fighting Islamic terrorism for Algeria dropping its support for the Polisario Front. He declared that the border with Morocco was like a sieve through which guns were smuggled to Algerian guerrillas.
Some sheikhs from occupied Western Sahara called together at the Moroccan Ministry of Interior, addressed a letter to S.G. Kofi Annan, denouncing the intrigues of the Polisario which they accuse to try to lower as far as possible the number of applicants for identification.
Moroccan diplomatic campaign in Spain
As recently in France, a Moroccan delegation headed by Hakim Ibrahim, went to Spain in order to inform the authorities about the difficulties arising in the identification process. They accuse the Polisario to "hinder most of the Saharawi tribes" to participate to the referendum. Morocco calls for the identification of 220 to 240,000 individuals.
"An inacceptable complicity" titles Al Bayane, daily newspaper of the Moroccan Communist Party. Intensifying the press campaign against the identification process, the Moroccan media now accuse the MINURSO officials of "complicity" with the Polisario Front which is determined to sabotage the identification operation (Libération, daily newspaper of the Moroccan Socialist Party). The passivity of the MINURSO is as dangerous as the POLISARIOs intrigues, writes Al Maghrib daily newspaper of the RNI.
First declaration of Ch. Dunbar
At a UN headquarters' press briefing , the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, said the referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara would be "free and fair" and would be open to international observation. Speaking of the number of applicants still identified, Mr. Dunbar said that it was important to bear in mind that those people had been identified as eligible or ineligible according to one of the five criteria set out in the settlement plan. Who was eligible and who was not would not be published until the end of the identification process - at the end of May. About the role played by sheikhs of the particular tribes in the process he explained that a certain number of people had to pass in front of those sheikhs in order to be identified. There had been complaints regarding the comportment of the sheikhs of the two sides and that had found its way into the media. It was important to bear in mind that it was not the sheikhs who decided who would be identified. While they did give their views, it was up to the Identification Commission to make the determination.
With reference to the pressions and blackmail of the Moroccan authorities concerning the sheikhs, the AFAPREDESA started an urgent action to the U.N. appealing for a complete immunity for these notables so they can do their work.
Abderrahman Youssoufi (USFP) has been designed as Prime Minister by King Hassan II. The new Moroccan government, the first to be leaded by a socialist, wil include several parties as well as former Minister Driss Basri, in charge of the W.S. dossier since the beginning of the conflict.
Balance of the identification:
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