Tens of millions of landmines, including over 10 million
antipersonnel mines, are still buried in the Maghreb, according to
experts at a colloquium held in Tunis, sponsored by the Arab
institute for human rights. Morocco is responsible for planting the
greatest number of landmines in recent times. According to Mr.
Elomari, Director of the Paris-based Observatoire des Transferts
d'Armements and co-organizer of the meeting, 2.5 to 3 million
landmines have been planted "to protect" some 120 000 km2 of the sand
wall running through the Western Sahara. He also stated that the
Mauritanian border is mined. Most of these landmines were
manufactured in Italy and the United States. The Ottawa Treaty, which
comes into effect on March 1, prohibits the production, use,
stockpiling and sale of antipersonnel mines. Tunisia ratified the
treaty, Algeria signed it and Mauritania has started the ratification
process, while Morocco and Lybia have opposed it (AFP).
"Morocco does not want to say "yes" to the Secretary-General's
proposals," says Fadel Ismaïl, who believes that Rabat is being
two-faced in its response. "On the one hand, it is trying to wear out
the United Nations. On the other hand, it is concerned about hiding
the truth from the public. In fact, Rabat could care less about the
Secretary-General, and even less so about the Security Council.,"
according to the Polisario representative to France (APS).
A Sahrawi delegation, headed by the minister of the occupied
territories,Brahim Ghali, was in Caracas to attend the inaugural
ceremony of VenezuelanPresident, Hugo Chavez. The Sahrawi minister
was received by the newPresident and met presidents Pastrana of
Colombia, Mahuad of Ecuador,Sanguinetti of Uruguay and Castro of
Cuba, among others.
The Polisario Front representative to the United Nations stated that
the Polisario Front is calling on the members of the Security Council
to adopt a firm position vis-à-vis Morocco, to force it to
accept all of the Secretary-Generals proposals (APS).
Special Representative Charles Dunbar and Chairman of the
Identification Commission, R. Kinloch, arrived in Rabat to continue
discussions with Moroccan authorities. According to a diplomatic
source, discussion are already being held within the Security Council
regarding the future resolution. The Friends of the Western Sahara
(United States, France, Spain, Great Britain, China and Russia) met
on 3.2. The Security Council will begin consultations on February 9
to render a decision on February 10 regarding an extension of
MINURSO's mandate, which expires the following day.
30.01.99 The Galician Observatory "For a free
referendum in the Western Sahara" was officially presented during a
public ceremony at the St. Jacques de Compostelle university. The
rector presided over the ceremony, attended by Nobel prizewinner for
literature, José Saramago.
Collection of food as well as money to purchase 34 trucks as part of
preparations for a peace caravan to the Sahrawi refugee camps.
20.02.99 20:40 ARTE (TV), "Les Sahraouis - un peuple
oublié en exil", 55 min, French/German, documentary
realised by Anita Lackenberger and Andrea Maurer. Production:
Made in October 1998 in the refugee camps. (Info: Andrea Maurer,
London, March 20-28, 1999: SANDBLAST
A multi-cultural/multimedia celebration in solidarity with the
The event will include an exhibition of paintings and murals telling
the story of the Saharawis, Saharawi Children's art, screening of
latest British produced TV program on Western Sahara (Forgotten War,
by highly accomplished director Christopher Mitchell), an AI
presentation on human rights with Saharawi speakers, North African
and Cuban food and a hot sizzling and entertaining night of music and
dance with African, Jazz and Cuban performing artists.
The event is being organized to raise awareness and funds to buy a
photocopier with replacement parts for AFRAPREDESA work (at their
request) in the refugee camps.
(More infos, contact...)
Charter flight Rome - Tindouf, 30.03.99 - 04.04.99.
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