Mr Eduardo Soto Alvarez, new ambassador of Venezuela at the SADR, presented his letters of credence to President Mohamed Abdelaziz. The Venezuelan diplomate ha been ambassador in China, India, Trinidad and Tobago and leaded different missions in 24 countries of Africa. (SADR Ministry of Information)
International Conference: " A free referendum for a free Sahara".
More than two hundred participants, deputees, elected representatives, NGO delegates, lawyers, journalists, etc.,participated at this conference organized by OSPAAAL (Organización de Solidaridad con los Pueblos de Asia, Africa y América Latina) and supported by numerous Spanish cities twinned with Western Sahara. In the final declaration the participants congratulate the MINURSO Identification Committee for its serous work. They regret the negative attitude of Morocco and formulate some proposals to save the Peace Plan. This document was sent to the governments and parliaments of the European Union, to the Spanish autonomous governments, to the political parties, to the UN and the OAU General Secretariate and to the US President and the US Congress. (full text Spanish)
Manifestation in Rabat
Thirthy young graduate Saharawis went on October 7 1998 to Rabat in order to revenge their right to find a work in the occupied territories where they live. They told that they are exposed to discrimination in their cities because the Moroccan authorites give preference to Moroccan settlers. They manifestated in front of the Moroccan Interior Ministry distributind tea to the passing people. A violent police intervention broke up the manifestation. About ten manifestants were injured, one of them seriously. (AFAPREDESA)
53th session of UN General Assembly., Fourth Committee (Decolonisation)
In a first session the representative of Morocco, questioned the need to hear petitioners on the question of Western Sahara, pointing out that the issue of Western Sahara had reached a delicate stage and statements by petitioners could complicate matters.He requested the Secretariat to provide justification for the appearance of the petitioners.
The Chairman of the Committee, answered the right of petitioners to appear before a Committee was enshrined in the Charter.
On October 9 the Committee hears 2 p etitioners on Western Sahara.
Michael Bhatia, research assistant at Brown University's Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies explained that weaknesses within the United Nations Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) mandate still remained. That the renewed hopes following the Houston Agreements which allowed resumption of the identification process, had proved futile and transparent. After a summer of dashed hopes and continued frustration, it had become clear that the resumption of high-level direct negotiations would be required to put the process back on track.
He said that the United Nations-monitored ceasefire allowed the Moroccan authorities to consolidate their presence and cohesively begin to alter the demographic character of the territory. Neither MINURSO nor the UNHCR had freedom of movement within the Territory, which severely limited knowledge on the conditions. The repatriation of Sahrawi refugees could not be viewed as an independent component of the Peace Plan to be mechanically implemented at the directed time, without regard to the conditions in the territory.
Boukhari Ahmed, representative of the Frente POLISARIO said that in contrast to the paralysis of previous years, significant progress had been made towards the holding of a referendum of self-determination in Western Sahara. The Houston agreements had resolved the problem of identification of the electoral body. Contrary to its promises of cooperation in the implementation, Morocco had been creating innumerable difficulties and obstructions in other essential areas, which were absolutely unrelated to the identification process, he said. Many obstacles were designed to prevent the holding of a free and fair referendum through a "war of attrition" against the will and the resources of the international community, he added. Nevertheless the Sahrawi people's faith in the determination of the United Nations remained intact and they looked to the Organization to help resolve the "anachronistic and unfair" conflict peacefully.
While the Moroccan representative refuted briskly the arguments of the petitionners, the Representatives of Zimbabwe, Cuba, Kenya and Tansania stated that the Settlement Plan remains the best option for achieving a long-lasting solution. The UN member states must continue to be focused on the process, and give it maximum political and material support., and the parties must be urged to push forward with greater fortitude and in full accord with the letter and spirit of the Houston Agreement and Settlement Plan, they concluded.
24th European Coordinating Conference of support to the Saharawi people, Manchester, UK
Under the slogan: Forward to independence!, the representatives of the support committees, NGOs, humanitarian and political organisation supporting the Saharawi people met in Manchester for 3 days of debates and work. We notice the presence of numerous MPs and Mrs Danielle Mitterrand, president of "France-Libertés".
ARSO will report next week about it.
The Saharawi Minister of Health Bachir Moustafa Sayed went to Cordoba on September 28.
He met local authorities and visited different hospitals. He discussed with the Asociación Cordobesa Amigos de los Niños Saharauis a new help project for one hundred Saharawi children suffering of after-effects of poliomyelitis. About the political situation, he declared the main path on the way to the referendum has been achieved despite the Moroccan impediments. He exprimed his confidence in James Baker and the international community to find a peacefull way to end the W.S. conflict.
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