WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 24

13.-19.06.1999

 

12.06.99
Italian statement

Italian Under-Secretary of State for Cooperation with Africa, Rino Serri, stated in the Algerian daily El Watan that growing ties between the EU and countries along the southern shore of the Mediterranean should in no way «dismiss or eclipse» the issue of the Western Sahara. Mr. Serri also expressed concern over the difficulty of resolving the completion of a voter 's list.

12.06.99
Eagleton in Algiers, 1

The UN Secretary-general's Special Representative for the Western Sahara was received by Ahmed Attaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Special Representative said he was «very happy to have had the opportunity to talk with Algerian officials, because Algeria has always played a very important role and has always shown great support for the United Nations. (...) I am pleased that this support continues.» (APS)

12.06.99
Statement by U.S. Under-Secretary of State

Mr. Indyk, U.S. Under-Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa, stated, «The dispute between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the territory of the Western Sahara is another issue of concern. We continue to support the efforts of the UN and former Secretary of State James Baker to implement the settlement plan to which Morocco and the Polisario have agreed.»
Mr. Indyk, who spoke on June 8 before the International Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, added that «like many others, however, we would like to see the two parties move forward to the holding of a referendum or be prepared to engage in what they have committed themselves to doing under the plan, or to indicate an alternative means of settling this issue.» Commenting on Mr. Indyk's statements, Sahrawi officials expressed their satisfaction with the United States' interest in a solution to the conflict over the decolonization of the Western Sahara. (SPS)

06.-13.06.99
Human rights

A mission from the Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) was in Morocco and occupied Western Sahara at the invitation of the Government of Morocco. During the mission, Clara da Silva and Professor John Currie of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law met in Rabat and El Ayoun with officials of the Government of Morocco, UN personnel, non-governmental organizations, and Canada's Ambassador to Morocco. The delegation met also with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for MINURSO; the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Identification Commission; the local programme officer for the UNHCR in El Ayoun; representatives of the Association Marocaine des Droits de l'Homme as well as faculty members of the Institut d'Études Africaines at the Université Mohammed V in Rabat.

13.06.99
Algeria

President Bouteflika expressed to President Moubarak, during his visit to Algiers, «his wish to see a solution to the Sahara in the near future as well as Algeria's desire to establish good relations with Morocco.» (MAP)
Amr Moussa, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed, during a press briefing a few hours before the end of the Egyptian President's visit to Morocco, Egypt's desire to work towards a rapprochement between Algeria and Morocco. (AFP)

13.06.99
Eagleton in Algiers, 2

Abdelaziz Bouteflika received William Eagleton and his delegation, including Robin Kinloch, deputy to the Special Representative, Eduardo Vetere, President of the Identification Commission, Slobodan Kotevski, in charge of operations in Tindouf and Halima Mohamed, assistant to the Special Representative. At the end of the meetings, Mr. Eagleton stated that «in the past, we have found solutions to specific problems and we hope to be able to do so with the Western Sahara as well (...) We are doing everything possible to prepare a just and transparent referendum, and we believe we can succeed.» (APS)

15.06.99
Referendum

«The identification mission resumed its work today in Laayoune and at Smara refugee camp in Tindouf.» (MINURSO)

16.06.99
Quotation

«Baker's solution, secretly broached with Morocco and the Polisario last year, could involve Morocco's retaining sovereignty for 25 or 30 years in return for Sahrawi autonomy and a pledge to reopen the sovereignty issue later, say diplomats familiar with the proposal», John Burns, The New York Times.

18.06.99
A. I. Congress

Amnesty International's annual congress, which was supposed to be held next August in Morocco, has been forbidden by Moroccan authorities. Motive: A.I. planned to hold a press conference, and then a demonstration in Rabat, on the issue of the disappeared. (Maroc-Hebdo International, No. 377)

NEWS BRIEFS

Closing ceremony on 11.06.99 at the Palais de la culture Moufdi Zakaria, of the Sahrawi cultural week, with the Sahrawi Minister of Culture and Sports, Mohamed Buzid, in attendance. The closure included a talk by Professor Talmi Mohamed Enaki on "The question of national identity in Sahrawi culture." (aps)

The King of Morocco will visit France on July 14, by invitation of President Chirac (Ach-Chark al-Awsat, 17.06.99).

Some 60 000 Moroccan who already went through the identification process and were not recognized as voters by MINURSO, will appeal the decision. (Libération, Maroc, 16.06.99).

Creation of a referendum observer committee for the Western Sahara in Budapest, the first in Eastern Europe. (corr., 17.06.99)

SOLIDARITY

Le Havre, France: The Association "A tanker truck for the Sahrawi people," created in 1990, was able to raise the funds in two years necessary to buy a tanker truck. The association has since diversified its activities. It has collected clothing, toys and food and organized debates and meetings with Sahrawi officials. This year, it will host 10 Sahrawi children, whose stay will be financed through various activities.

Merida, Estremadura, Spain, 11.06.99: The President of the Assembly for this community met with the Sahrawi Minister of Justice to sign an accord to train Sahrawi jurists in Badajoz. (Hoy)

Murcia, Spain, 14.06.99: The federation of solidarity organizations with the Sahrawi people in this autonomous region will host 440 Sahrawi children, 40 of whom will receive medical care, while the others spend July and August with host families.

Ronda, Andalucia , Spain,17.06.99: The friends of the Sahrawi association will host 20 children this summer, 7 of whom, who are sick, arrived this week.

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