WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 23

06.-12.06.1999

 

Mr. Eagleton's visit (follow up)

06.06.99
SADR: Second day
Mr. Eagleton met with chioukh who warned him that their cooperation with the UN was contingent on its impartiality and rigourous respect of standards by the Identification Commission. They called on the UN to ensure that they would be able to fully exercise their function, in Morocco and the occupied territories, free from any harassment by Moroccan authorities. Mr. Eagleton promised to look into their concerns. He repeated that the Security Council "is determined to see a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara." Stated intentions and "promises of cooperation" made by the two parties must be "translated into action." Mr. Eagleton concluded that "we'll see over the next few weeks," as identification operations resume, how things develop on the ground. The Identification Commission will begin its work next June 15. Every ten days, until operations are complete, the Commission will announce the number of applicants accepted and rejected. (SPS ,APS)

El Ayoun: 06.-08.06.99
Mr. Eagleton was met upon his arrival at the airport by Allal Saâdaoui, Wali from the region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakiat Al Hamra, Mohamed Azmi, Moroccan coordinator with MINURSO, governor attached to the department of the interior, several MINURSO officials as well as members of parliament, elected officials and chioukh. During his stay, he had meetings with Moroccan authorities and MINURSO officials.

Mauritania: 09.-10.06.99
Mr. Eagleton met with Mauritanian President Ould Sid Ahmed Taya.

11.06.99
Referendum

According to reliable sources, Moroccan authorities led a major campaign to coach future applicants and simulated identification procedures, in preparation for the resumption of identification operations on June 15, 1999. In these training sessions "Sahrawis" were coached in preparation for their hearing (see Basri directives, January 1999). In El Ayoun, authorities tampered with old Spanish documents supplied to the applicants. To slow down the process and win time, they plan to only allow 80 applicants to meet with the Identification Commission per day, rather than the 120 scheduled by MINURSO. They apparently also issued instructions to families of 5 or more to not present themselves all at once at the Commission.

11.06.99
Human Rights

AFAPREDESA has learned of a number of arrests of Sahrawi students in two high schools in the occupied territories, Bir Enzaran and El Khansaa, on June 7, 1999. The reasons cited for the arrests were the tattoos and other symbols sported by the students referring to the Polisario Front. Informants claim there are some 20 detainees, 8 of whom have been identified. They are: Laila Bachir Labiehi, Suada Mohamed Cheikh, daughter of Aabdati Babiet, the two daughters of Fadli Baba, the son of Mustafa Errami, the daughter of Mr. Butabbaa, the son of Mr. Buchanna.
AFAPREDESA is calling on MINURSO to investigate and ensure the physical well-being of the young detainees.

NEWS BRIEFS

05.06.99
OAU

Statement by the Secretary General of the OAU, Salim Ahmed Salim: "The issue of Western Sahara is of particular importance to us. (...) The OAU was the originator of the settlement plan adopted by the United Nations. We expect it to be scrupulously implemented."

07.06.99
Preparation for the 10th congress of the Polisario Front

Sub-committees have been set up to look after various national questions by the Preparatory Committee, composed of over 70 members and led by the President of the Parliament. The Congress is scheduled for the end of the summer. (SPS)

08.06.99
Interview with Bouteflika

Statement by the President of Algeria in the Jordanian newspaper "Al-Rai" on the issue of the Western Sahara: "(...) the question of (the Western Sahara) is one of self-determination within the framework of the UN resolutions and the Houston Agreement, as accepted and signed by the protagonists (...). As for relations with the Kingdom of Morocco, they are not what they should be, which is deeply regrettable." (APS)

09.-11.06.99
Algiers: Sahrawi cultural week

The program includes evenings of music, dance and poetry by some fifty artists at the Palais de la Culture and in the Atlas theatre, a play "yaoumiyata lajie" (the tale of a refugee), art, photo, book and newspaper exhibitions, films as well as an archeological and anthropological exhibit. The event will close with a talk on Sahrawi thought, by the executive assistant to the Sahrawi Minister of Information, Mr. Talmi Mohamed el-Naki (SPS, ONCI).

11.06.99
Revelations

A campaign to destabilize the King of Morocco, orchestrated by members of his inner circle in summer 1998, failed. A dozen blank cheques belonging to the King were stolen. The conspirators attempted to cash them for significant sums in order to finance their operation. Suspicious bank officials alerted Hassan II's personal secretary. Several people were arrested in Morocco. In related news, a personal advisor to the King, Hicham Mandari, published an open letter in the Washington Post of 06.06.99, claiming to be a victim of a plot and demanding compensation by threatening to reveal explosive information about the King. Mandari is wanted by Morocco for his participation in the theft of the cheques. (Le Monde )

SOLIDARITY

08.06.99, Estremadura
During a visit to this community by the Sahrawi Justice Minister, Hameti Rabani, a project to train Sahrawi jurists was officially launched. Mr. Rabani stated that his people are convinced that "Spain can and must develop initiatives to unblock the peace plan and oblige Morocco to respect it." (Diario de Las Palmas)

10.06.99, Andalucia
In an open letter to the President of the region of Andalucia, Manuel Chaves, the Association of the friends of the Sahrawi for the region of Gibraltar, called on him to show his support for the Sahrawi struggle by taking concrete political action, either by visiting the refugee camps or receiving Sahrawi officials.

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