WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 12

21.-27.03.1999

 

21.03.99
Charles Dunbar's farewell tour

The population of the Smara wilaya paid tribute to Dunbar in the presence of the Sahrawi head of State. Dunbar thanked the Polisario Front and Sahrawi officials for their friendship and cooperation. He stressed that the last year of his mandate had been the most important year of his life. He regretted not being able to complete his mission and end the painful situation of the Sahrawi refugees. The following day in Rabat, Dunbar bid farewell to Moroccan authorities during a working meeting with Driss Basri, Minister of the Interior, and Azmi, coordinator with MINURSO.

20-21.03.99
Visit by U.S. ambassador

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nancy Soderberg, visited the Sahrawi refugee camps and Tifariti, in the liberated zones. She was received by the President and the Sahrawi government. She attended the farewell ceremony for Charles Dunbar. On March 22, Soderberg met with Driss Basri in Rabat to discuss the conflict in the Western Sahara. (Sahrawi Ministry of Information)

22.03.99
Report of the Secretary-General S/1999/307

In October 1998, the Secretary-General proposed a package of measures to speed up the peace process:

The Polisario Front accepted all of the measures in November 1998. There were intense discussions between Morocco and the UN. It was only on March 22, the day Kofi Annan's report was to be published, that Morocco communicated its agreement "in principle" in a letter, while calling for amendments to the identification and appeals protocols. Morocco is calling for the appeals procedures to commence one month after the resumption of identification. Kofi Annan is proposing to the Security Council that MINURSO 's mandate be extended to April 30 so that the parties can come to an agreement on Morocco's proposed amendments, while respecting the major tenets of his proposals.
Morocco, responsible for the five-month delay in the calendar proposed in October 1998 by the Secretary-General, is nevertheless calling for "the referendum to be complete by March 2000 because this has dragged on long enough," according to Morocco's representative to the UN, A. Snoussi.

22-23.03.99
69th session of the OAU's Council of Ministers

Senegal, seconded by Gabon, raised the issue of Western Sahara's membership in the Panafrican organization, demanding that the decision taken by the leaders' summit on June 8, 1998 in Ouagadougou be respected, namely that the Council of Ministers "study the issue of SADR's membership within the OAU." Morocco had sent several emissaries to various African capitals and an entire delegation of Addis Ababa. Once the OAU's legal counsel had issued its advisory, the majority of countries present renewed their full support for the Sahrawi Republic and reaffirmed their support for the UN sponsored self-determination referendum. The Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ould Salek called on the OAU to assume its responsibility in the decolonization process. SADR was elected vice-president to the current ministerial session. (Sahrawi Ministry of Information)

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

22.03.-30.04.99 UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva
The right of a people to self-determination: The Spanish federation of human rights associations made an intervention on 23.03.99 on the implementation of the UN peace plan in the Western Sahara. The Federation also called for an investigation into the whereabouts of the Sahrawi dissapeared.

Khadija Moutik mint Abeid, the sister of four Sahrawi political detainees (the Meknès group), was fired three months ago. A public works technician in the urban commune of Goulimine in Southern Morocco, she was accused by commune officials to have revealed illegal administrative practices against Sahrawi civil servants. A disciplinary council dropped all charges against her but she has not been permitted to return to work (AFAPREDESA).

NEWS BRIEFS

21.03.99 The first weekly meeting of the Sahrawi government dealt with customs, transportation and material management. (Sahrawi Ministry of Information)

21.03.99 Susanne Öberg, member of the National Board, Centerparty Youth in Sweden, issued a press release calling for an end to the international community's apathy on the question of Africa's last colony, the Western Sahara.

25.03.99 The Sahrawi Minister of the Occupied Territories and Emigration was received by Mauritanian President Ould Taya. Mahfoud Ali Beiba "applauded the friendship and good neighbourliness that defines relations between Mauritania and Western Sahara." (Sahrawi Ministry of Information)

European Parliament: Two Swedish parliamentarians, Maj-Brit Tehorin (PSE) and Hans Lindqvist (ELDR) raised questions regarding the Council's relations with Morocco and European aid to Morocco, in the context of Morocco's occupation of the Western Sahara.

Sweden: During its last congress, the Committee for Western Saharan Women sent three letters, one to Kofi Annan, the Security Council and European parliamentarians, another to Hillary Clinton and a third to the Polisario Front, criticizing the absence of women in the new Sahrawi government.

NEW ON INTERNET

SOLIDARITY

Murcia, Spain, 20.03.99 : 21 ill Saharawi children arrived from the refugee camps to be treated in Spain. A projekt of the Saharawi support Committees of the region of Murcia.

 

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