WESTERN SAHARA

WEEKLY NEWS

 

WEEK 38

19.-25.09.1999

16.09.99
Italian parliament

The Commission for Foreign Affairs of the Italian Parliament adopted a resolution on 16 September, which commits the Italian Government to give all the support needed to bring about the referendum; it urges the United Nations to make a thorough analysis of the comparable referendum situation in East Timor; it presses the European Union for an initiative in order to:
a) require Morocco to remove all obstacles to the respect of the terms of the referendum as they are laid down
b) propose itself as a guarantor for the forthcoming dialogue between Western Sahara and Morocco;
c) announce the immediate recognition of the new Saharawi government through the establishment of regular diplomatic relationships
d) open relations with the the present POLISARIO representatives throughout Europe
e) re-negotiate fishing rights along the Atlantic coast with the future sovereigns of the territory. (ANSPS)

18.09.99
Saharawi Government

President Abdelaziz carried out a ministerial re-shuffle . Prime Minister Bouchraya Beyoun remains in post. He combines this post with that of Minister of the Interior. Six new ministers, join the government, including one woman: Mrs Mariem Salek H'Mada to Culture and Sport, Ayoub Lehbib, former commander of the 3rd military region, becomes Minister of the Occupied Territories, Sid'Ahmed Batal, formerly in charge of political orientation, becomes Minister of Information, Mohamed ould Nafaa becomes Minister of Construction, Mohamed Lemine ould Dedi Minister of Transport, and Salek Baba Hacenna, Minister for Cooperation.
Three ministers change portfolio: Mohamed Bouzeid moves from Culture to Justice, Larabass Joumani from Equipment to Economic Development and Abeida Cheikh, formerly Transport takes on the Ministry of Equipment.
Four ministers remain where they were: Minister for Defence, Mohamed Lemine Bouhali, Foreign Minister, Mohamed Salem ould Salek, Education Minister, Salek Bobih, Minister for Health, Mansour Omar and Minister-Counselor to the Presidency, Mohamed Sidati.
Other nominations include: Daf Mohamed Fadel, former Secretary General for the Presidency, remains in post. The new president of the Red Crescent is Boulahi Siid, (former Minister for Economic Development).
At the level of the wilayas (provinces): Bachir Mustafa Sayed is appointed wali (Governor) of Ausserd, Mahfoud Ali Beiba, wali of Dakhla, Abdelkader Taleb Omar, wali of Smara et El Khalil Sid M'Hamed, wali of El Ayoun. Malainine Sadig is designated Ambassador in Algiers, Fadel Ismail, Ambassador for the OAU and Ethiopia, Alioun Kentawi, Ambassador for Nigeria, Mrs Senia Ahmed, representative for Switzerland and the UN in Geneva, and Wallad Moussa representative in Brussels. (SPS).

18.09.99
Concern
Meeting for its first session of the new legislature, the National Secretariat of the Polisario Front expressed its «deep concern faced with the activities of the Moroccan government, which has flooded the UN Identification Commission with tens of thousands of appeals». It stressed in its communiqué that Rabat «puts in question» the work laboriously accomplished by the Identification Commission and «thus violates the provisions of the UN Settlement Plan, the statements of the UN Secretary General and holds the resolutions of the Security Council up for ridicule».
The National Secretariat warns that «if such a situation is tolerated» it would be tantamount to putting off the referendum sine die and would reduce to nothing all the efforts put in by the international community by postponing indefinitely the deadline for a just and definitive peace.
Faced with this «unjust and intolerable» situation, the communiqué asserts, the National Secretariat launches an «urgent appeal» to the international community and particularly to the Security Council and the UN General Secretary to «act in order to prevent this slippage» which it imputes to Morocco. (SPS)

21.09.99
Morocco - UN

The Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Benaïssa, in his address before the 54th UN General Assembly in New York, claimed that «thousands of people originating from the Sahara who moreover conform to the agreed criteria and conditions have been excluded from the voter lists for the referendum in Western Sahara.»

22.- 23.09.99
Repression

The protest demonstration begun on 10 September by students and unemployed graduates in El Ayoun (see weeks 36 and 37 ) continued and received the support of former workers from the Bou-Craa phosphate mines. According to AFAPREDESA, during the night of 21-22 September the brutal intervention of the police force resulted in one dead and about forty injured. Some were refused care in hospitals, while others were taken out of the town. The demonstrators were removed close to the ONEP (National Office of Drinking Water). Tens of people were arrested and it is claimed are held in various centres in the town. Witnesses also heard firing at 4.45 am on 22 September. A curfew has been decreed in El Ayoun. (AFAPREDESA urgent action)
One Moroccan newspaper, Al Mounaddama, has related these events (see week 38 French) and the Spanish newspaper El Mundo cites testimonies of people living in El Ayoun confirming the violent repression on days 22 and 23, when another manifestation took place.

24.09.99
Morocco

The new sovereign of Morocco announced the creation of a Royal Commission to follow Saharan affairs, which will comprise civil and military personalities as well as representatives from the region. It will be responsible for everything which touches Western Sahara. The Madrid daily paper, El Pais quotes sources close to the King saying that «if up until now the conflict of Western Sahara has been managed with an iron fist, in the future it will be handled with silk gloves». The setting up of this commission means there is a widening of responsibilities, the management of the conflict having been, for the last two decades, the exclusive monopoly of the Minister of the Interior, Driss Basri and the King.

COMING UP...

October 10, 1999, Sesto Fiorentino - Florence, Italy : Convention 1999 of the support to the Sahrawi people, organised by the Associazione di Solidarietà con il Popolo Saharawi "Ban Slout Larbi", in presence of President Mohamed Abdelaziz. Informations: tphone. 0347 6317340 (Sandro Volpe), e-mail: casiele@tin.it

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