WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 34

22.-28.08.1999

 

26.08.99
Morocco

The Moroccan government has decided to breathe new life into its diplomacy in an effort to influence international opinion on the Western Sahara. Changes, nominations, action plans and mobilization have been planned. The government also hopes to "mobilize various facets of society including political and professional organizations and non-governmental organizations to prepare for the referendum". From now on, the issue of the Sahara will also be on the government council's weekly agenda.

26-30.08.99
The 10th Congress of the Polisario Front: "Perseverance, combat and unity to bring about national independence and peace"

The Congress, held at the "Ecole du Douze-Octobre" with the participation of some 1 350 delegates, should renew Polisario's direction and define its political, social and economic program over the next four years. Close to 130 foreign delegations from Europe, Latin America and Africa participated in the opening.
The Foreign minister of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic [SADR], Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, has said Spain, as the former colonial power, must become more involved in the resolution of the Western Sahara conflict. At a news conference prior to the 10th congress of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek dismissed the possibility of a new postponement of the poll, saying that the timetable for the referendum must be respected and that, in the event of further delays, the congress of the Saharan organization could consider the possibility of taking up arms again.
During the opening ceremony, the Algerian minister for ex-combatants, Said Abadou, restated Algeria's position, in line with international law, which calls for the full implementation of the Peace Plan and Houston Agreement.
During his opening speech, the Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdelaziz, expressed the hope that "Mohamed VI will actively contribute to creating a climate of peace between the peoples of the region, by fully respecting the implementation of the peace plan".
In his review of internal developments, Abdelaziz said that efforts had been made to enhance democratic practice. He did admit that there were certain difficulties, such as the emergence of personal material concerns. He announced that progress had been made in a number of areas, most notably in public administration, education and information. (The Saharawi TV realised its first own transmission from the congress)
As for the future, Abdelaziz expected that the Congress would implement policies in favour of youth, strengthen parliament's powers and consolidate the judicial system. He stressed the right of all citizens to freedom of expression and to participation in the management of public affairs. He reiterated the Sahrawi desire to work with the United Nations, "a willingness rivalled only by our determination to defend our legitimate right, even if this forces us to return to armed struggle." He concluded by applauding Algeria's policy stance and expressed his hope that peace would soon come to Middle East and East Timor. (SPS, agencies)

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