Balance of identification (06.07.98)
Convoked applicants since December 1997: 104 200
Identified aplicants since December 1997: 75 555
Identified aplicants since August 1994: 135 667.
US Congessmen visit W.S.
The Congressmen Lester Munson, Republican, and Celes Hugles, Democrate, went for an information trip to Western Sahara. At El Ayoun they met MINURSO offficials as well as local responsibles, later they visited the MINURSO office of Smara, where some US observers are at work, reaching finally Tindouf.
Secretary General Report S/1998/634
In his latest report, Annan said there had been a substantial increase in June and early July in the pace of identifying potential voters. If this pace continued, MINURSO should be able to complete during August the identification of all applicants, except members of three tribal groupings whose eligibility is still in dispute. Annan said that, after substantial completion of the identification process except for those three groups, his personal Envoy, James Baker III, would try to find a solution, with Morocco and Polisario, to the problem of the contested tribal groupings and other issues affecting the U.N. plan. He would then "assess the implementability of the plan in its present form,'' examine whether any adjustments acceptable to the two sides might be made, and if not, advise Annan on possible courses of action.
"Such an assessment would influence my conclusions as to the continued viability of MINURSO's mandate,'' Annan said. To allow time for this, he recommended that MINURSO's current mandate, which expires July 20, should be extended for two months, until Sept. 21. He said his next report would be submitted by Sept. 15.
Concerning repatriation of the refugees, the HCR continued with its preparatory work albeit at a reduced pace because the UNHCR still awaits clearance from the Moroccan government on a number of remaining issues. Renewed discussions are expected soon, see above. Other problem raised up: the Moroccan authorities have denied access to MINURSO flights to Tindouf to some media staffs, a British correspondant and a Portuguese TV crew under others. In a letter to the Moroccan government the special representative stressed that visits by diplomats, staff of non-governemental organizations and journalists contribute to the transparency of the process.
The Report is discussed by the Security Council and a resolution is expected to be voted on Monday 20.07.98, prepared by the Group of Friends of Western Sahara leaded by the USA.
The UN High Commissionary for Refugees wishes to conclude soon an agreement with the Moroccan government in the frame of the WS peace plan. The aim is to initiate a bilateral cooperation in order to facilitate the partecipation of the refugees of the Tindouf camps to the referendum. The new representative of the HCR at El Ayoun, Joseph Adam (Soudan) declared to AFP his organisation has no intention to "reinstall" the Saharawi refugees from Tindouf in new camps in Western Sahara. Mr Adam wishes quickly to bring in contact Saharawis of both parts in order to create "a climate of trust and peace" between them, he told. The representative further said high responsibles of the organization will reach Rabat mid-july in order to discuss with the Moroccan authorities the future steps of the peace plan.
Platform:"Vrede voor de Westelijke Sahara"
A group of representatives of different political, social and religious groupings, together comprising a cross section of the Dutch population wants to establish a platform:"Vrede voor de Westelijke Sahara" (Peace for the Western Sahara) in the Netherland.
All representatives share their common concern around the question of the Western Sahara. They are convinced, that justice has to come to a break-through, that the decolonisation of this territory has to be realized and settled in the near future and that each country has its right to selfdetermination.
The ultimate goal of the platform "Vrede voor de Westelijke Sahara" is to support the resolutions of MINURSO, by sending observers to the referendum as this is planned for next year.
House of Commons, UK
Ms Tess Kingham (Gloucester) in a question asked if the British government "will guarantee the House and assure the Saharawi people of Western Sahara that we shall not allow Morocco to foil the long-awaited referendum process in Western Sahara, and that we shall push our EU counterparts to ensure that that referendum takes place as soon as possible?"
Mr. Henderson, The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office answered that "we shall be doing everything that we can to support the Baker process, which is trying to improve the situation in countries that are crucial in the relationship between the European Union and the ACP group".
Court decision for Serfaty
The Moroccan supreme court said the 1991 interior ministry order to expel Serfaty will remain in effect. It could not rule on the nationality of veteran opposition activist Abraham Serfaty, who was expelled from Morocco in 1991 on the grounds that he was Brazilian.
The court's decision means, one of the most popular opponents to the country's King Hassan II,. Serfaty, 72, was condemned to life imprisonment in 1974 for plotting against the state but was released in 1991 and immediately expelled on the pretext that he was Brazilian. Moroccans cannot be expelled from their own country. He was granted political asylum in France.
Serfaty's lawyer, Abderrahim Berrada, said the supreme court's decision was "a disgrace for Morocco and Moroccans, and an imposture showing nothing will ever change in this country."
At a press conference in Tunis the Moroccan Prime Minister appealed to Algeria to renew the dialog with Morocco. His country proposes to reopen the borders and suppress the visa. Some days before the Algerian Minister of foreign affairs proposed to Morocco a global approach of the problems between the two countries, considering that the Western Sahara conflict is not part of the relations between the two countries but a separate dossier.
Third International Youth Conference in Solidarity with Western Sahara, Lisbon, Portugal, from 1st to 10th August 1998. For informations: email@example.com
Solidarity Meeting between European Women and the National Union of Saharawi Women: 25-26 of September in the refugee camps. A charter fligth from Madrid, departure 24.09.98, return 28.09.98, will be organized. For informations: Emakunde@ej-gv.es or firstname.lastname@example.org
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