WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 29

18.-24.07.1999

 

17.07.99
Open letter to the daily El Pais

Emilio Cuevas, who led the census operations in the Western Sahara and worked as a consultant to MINURSO until 1994 sent a letter to the newspaper El Pais (not yet published).He defends himself against charges that mistakes were made. The Moroccan Minister of the Interior stated in an interview with the Madrid daily that the census was «poorly conducted.» Detailing the technical procedures employed at the time, Mr. Cuevas states that the 1974 census was acknowledged at the time by several renowned specialists for its scientific rigour.

18.07.99
Basri and A.I.

Asked about the banning of the Amnesty International Congress, the Moroccan Minister of the Interior responded that "an AI meeting in Morocco is premature." He revealed that the decision to ban was made by the Moroccan government which rejects AI's dissemination of "positions that are hostile to the territorial integrity" of Morocco. According to Basri, the Sahrawi prisoners defended by A.I. are not prisoners of conscience but prisoners of war and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the UN, Red Cross, etc.

19.07.99
Training

A group of 61 Sahrawi, including 5 women, are receiving a six month training in the Canary Islands, to prepare them for managing a future independent state. The program, sponsored by the autonomous government of the Canaries, includes technology training, followed by internships in various public administrations and NGOs.

20.07.99
Referendum

Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the SADR, received William Eagleton, special representative of the UN Secretary General. Also present at the meeting were Sahrawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, and Coordinator with MINURSO Mhamed Khaddad. They discussed the implementation calendar for the UN settlement plan in the Western Sahara. Mr. Eagleton will visit Bir Lehlou, Tifariti and M'herise, in the liberated zones, where some of the refugees will be relocated during the referendum period. (APS)

20.07.99
Mobilization in Morocco

Following publication of the provisional voters lists, Moroccan authorities organized a public meeting in El Ayoun, with Driss Basri and six other government officials. Claiming that the geographic distribution of the voters represented a victory for Morocco's claims, the officials once again accused the Identification Commission of "bias" in favour of the Polisario Front. Basri indicated that Morocco may withdraw from the process "if its rights are flouted." He added that anyone who presented themselves to the Commission and whose name is not on the list , must appeal the decision and will be assisted by a team of Moroccan lawyers who will go to the Western Sahara.

Development of the Awserd province
The Moroccan government is creating great fanfare around the development scheme for Awserd province, made up of six communes in the region of Tiris. This strategically important project will, according to Basri, receive persons who will participate in the referendum and will bring together the Sahrawi population of Tiris and northern Mauritania. Financed from a national fund, the project will include new housing, drinking water and electricity, road construction, a new airport and a telecommunications network.

22.07.99
Appeals process

During a working session in El Ayoun with chioukh, observers participating in the identification process and several walis and governors, Driss Basri launched the appeals campaign. "The walis, governors, chioukh and observers will be instructed to widely distribute the provisional list of 46 000 Moroccan Sahrawi applicants." They will be responsible for "personally overseeing the verification of these lists and diligently transmitting to the appropriate offices and centres possible omissions and any other information in the next 5 weeks, that is before the cut-off date for appeals." He added that the lists of voters living in the refugee camps will be reported extensively in the media to denounce the inclusion, according to Basri, of many spurious claims.

23.07.99
Death of King Hassan II. His son, Mohamed VI succeeds to the throne.
SADR President Mohamed Abdelaziz sent a message to the young king (french). Some Saharawi support committees issued media releases.

NEW ON THE INTERNET

A.S.A.P.S., Associazione Nationale di Solidarieta con il Popolo Saharawi, Roma. URL:http://web.tiscalinet.it/maranolo

NEW PUBLICATIONS

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