Former President of Mauritania, Mokhtar Ould Daddah
«At present, I see no other solution than to pursue the
difficult path of a referendum on the Sahara. For Mauritania, it's an
important issue that must be addressed: geography, history and
ethnicity have created a Sahrawi population that is from the same
stock as the people of northern Mauritania. This is a difficult
problem to resolve.» (Jeune Afrique Economie)
"UMA: Present and future"
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Union du Maghreb Arabe (UMA), the
International Studies Association held an international seminar in
Tunis. During the proceedings, a Tunisian participant, Mr.
Ounaïes, stressed the need to resolve the issue of the Western
Sahara as quickly as possible. The seminar ended with a reading of
the "Tunis declaration," which called for an atmosphere of
"friendship and dialogue among Maghrebian States," and "to pursue
united Maghrebian action," as well as "to overcome obstacles to a
united Maghrebian front." (APS Algiers, La Presse Tunis)
The Polisario Front applauded this initiative by Maghrebian
intellectuals and took the opportunity to reiterate the Sahrawis'
deep attachment to the Maghrebian ideal and the participation of the
Sahrawi government in the construction of an inclusive Greater
Maghreb. Polisario did, however, criticize the fact that not all
Maghrebians were represented at the seminar
(Official statement from the Ministry of
Information of the SADR)
Amnesty International's next congress will be held in Morocco on
August 18, 1999. Mohammed Sektaoui, general secretary of the Moroccan
chapter of Amnesty International, stated that Morocco is one of the
most likely countries to take on a key role in the promotion of a
culture of respect for human rights in North Africa and the Near
East. He added that some 500 members representing 150 countries are
expected to attend the congress in Morocco.
Two Sahrawis have been handed over to Morocco by Spanish authorities
after having been detained in the Canary Islands (see week 07).
(Participate in the Urgent Action .
United States: Statement
The conflict in the Western Sahara has dragged on too long, according
to Martin Indyk, assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle
East and North Africa. It has swallowed up important resources that
could have been put to better use in the region, he added during a
presentation before the Hannibal Club, a newly created think-tank in
Washington, chaired by Robert Pelletreau, a former senior foreign
affairs officer. Mr. Indyk pointed out Washington has always
encouraged Morocco and Polisario to cooperate with the UN. He
stressed that the referendum was originally proposed by Morocco and
that the United States has always played a supportive role. "If
Morocco no longer wants a referendum, it should say so," he concluded
The Austrian Parliament passed a resolution that calls on the
government to fully support the UN Secretary General's efforts to
implement the peace plan for the Western Sahara and to urge the
parties involved in the conflict to actively contribute to a positive
result by mid-March 1999.
The town of Gothenburg has this week been sentenced by the court
of appeal for having granted allowances to the local Moroccan
committee. The allowances have now been stopped. The former head of
this committee was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for espionage
in 1997 (see week 51 / 96,
43 / 97 and 47 /
97 ). According to the Swedish police the committee is identical
to ATCM (Amicale des Travailleurs et Commerçants Marocains), a
spy organisation controlled by the Moroccan regime. The Moroccan
committee is forbidden in Norway and Denmark.
23th anniversary of the proclamation of the SADR
On celebration of the 23th Anniversary of the Saharawi Arab
Democratic Republic the Association of Indian Africanists and the
Embassy of SADR organised a reception and a seminar on 26 February
1999, in New Delhi on "U.N. PEACE PLAN IN WESTERN SAHARA: PROBLEMS
AND PROSPECTS" Former Union Minister Govt.of India, many senior
diplomates accredited to India, politicians, acadimicians, the press
and the Director of the U.N. information Centre attended the event.
The seminar extendes it support to U.N. and O.A.U. to organise a
free, fair and transparent referendum in Western Sahara in accordance
with the terms of the peace plan and the Houston Agreements, as
accepted by Morocco and Polisario. The seminar calls upon the U.N. to
speed up the decolonisation of Western Sahara, which remains the last
colony in Africa.
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