The Moroccan diplomatic offensive in Europe is going on. The Moroccan delegation leaded by Hakim Ibrahim and other former Polisario members met in London with responsibles of the Foreign Office, deputees and responsibles of British NGOs, and later in Bruxelles with European parliamentaries, Belgian deputees and representatives of NGOs.
Interview (Semanario, Lisboa)
The Moroccan Minister of Interior repeated his accusation of complicity between "some" members of the MINURSO and the POLISARIO. He also repeated the need of a daily publication of the lists of voters. The Polisario representative in Portugal, questioned about the letter of pro-Moroccan Shiouk to the U.N. (see February 2 , week 06) explained that the letter was made by the Moroccan government: "The Shiouk were at the office of the Ministry of Interior in Rabat". About the accusations of sympathy of MINURSO for the POLISARIO Mr Ahmed Salama answered that "it is part of the intoxication campaign of Morocco".
37th anniversary of the enthronment of Hassan II
In his speech King Hassan II declared about the referendum in Western Sahara that there will be no doubt about a good issue of this consultation, which will confirm the historical allegiance of these provinces to the throne.
Arrests in Western Sahara
According to the Polisario representative in France Sahrawi citizens were recently arrested and tortured in Lemseyed (W.S.). Moroccan authorities denied the information, and MINURSO could not confirm.
Dunbar: "The identification will take more time but the day of the referendum is still maintained" (Al Hayat, London).
The Security Council has be briefed on Western Sahara by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hedi Annabi.
The Moroccan newspaper Maroc Hebdo International published several articles on the report of an "occidental intelligence service" speaking about Algerian war plans against Morocco.
As mentioned last week, following Moroccan objections about the identification programme for March, the MINURSO held talks with the parties. From 26.2. to 9.3.98 the identification is stopped. It will resume in 6 centers on March 11 (El Ayoun I and II, Dakhla, Goulimine, Smara and Dakhla camps).
SUPPORT of the REFERENDUM
In occasion of the visit in Algeria of the Malian President, Alpha Oumar Konare, Mali and Algeria reaffirmed their support to a quick implementation of the Peace Plan and the Houston agreements.
The Centre National de Cooperation au Developpement appeals on March 2 to the government, the political parties, the social organizations and the Belgian NGOs to support the UN for the implementation of the Peace Plan in Western Sahara. The CNCD underlines the necessity of the presence of observers and formatives, as well as the funding of their mission and of the repatriation of the voters.
By adoption of a resolution on Nov. 25 1997 the Italian Parliament asked the government to support the peace process including the sending of observers at any stages of the implementation of the referendum, to sustain the preparation of the vote and the repatriation of the voters, and to place demining specialists on UN disposal.
66 deputees of different parties sent a letter to the President of the Council asking the Italian Government to work for a true peace, to send observers and to give financial aid to the Saharawi people.
On March first the National Assembly of the Solidarity Associations with the Saharawi people took place in Rome.
"Sahara en el corazon"
Some 5'000 individuals participated last week to manifestations of support to a fair and free referendum in Western Sahara in the Canary Islands. Members of the Canarian government and local authorities joined the manifestations.
The President of the Rumanian Senate Petre Roman, visiting Morocco, repeated on March 5 the support of his country to the UN peace plan.
10 March 1998, 11 h.: Press briefing of Mhamed Khaddad, Saharawi responsible for the identification commission, at the Fondation France-Libertés.
12, 17, 23 and 24 March: Sahara Occidental, A la espera de la descolonización, 4 round tables organized by the University Coordination for Human Rights.(Programme)
16.03.-24.04.1998, UN Human Rights Commission, 54th session.
La Federación de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui de Murcia organiza un vuelo charter que saldra desde Alicante con destino a los campos de refugiados el día 14 hasta el 19 de abril .
Información: Asociación de Amistad y Solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui "Mar Menor", C/Olivar 33 1ºE, San Javier (Murcia). Tfno: (9)68-192092-93. El precio del charter sera de 72.000 pts.
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