U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation
JULY 26, 2002
AMERICAN CITIZENS PETITION FOR WESTERN SAHARA REFERENDUM OR MOROCCO WITHDRAWAL
The U.S.-Western Sahara Foundation announced today that it had received over a thousand petitions from American citizens across the United States that support the Western Sahara Referendum.
The petitions signed by Americans from across the country call for President Bush, Secretary Colin Powell, Congressman Dennis Hastert, and Senator Tom Daschle to push the United Nations to hold the referendum on Western Sahara. However, the petition also states that if Morocco continues to stall the referendum, then Morocco should be pressured to withdraw from Western Sahara.
"If the United Nations does not uphold its promise of a referendum for the Sahrawis, the only other option is the withdrawal of Morocco from its illegal occupation of Western Sahara," said Suzanne Scholte, chairman of the US-WS Foundation.
"It is a tragedy that the Sahrawis are still waiting for their promised referendum," She said. "And why? Because they believed in the promise of the UN, and believed that Morocco would follow through on its commitments to the UN."
"When we, American citizens, look at this conflict, it is clear cut: Either hold the referendum and give the Sahrawis the right to vote or pressure the Moroccan invaders to go home and allow the Sahrawis to return to their homeland."
"It is time for the King of Morocco to spend his money in Morocco to help his own people, not to use it to finance a 140,000 troop army to keep the Sahrawis from their homeland," Scholte said.
The Western Sahara is the only country in Africa that has not been de-colonized because it was invaded by Morocco in 1975, the same year East Timor, now a free nation, was invaded by Indonesia. Most Sahrawis live in refugee camps in western Algeria where they have established a democratic society and become the most educated Africa people group as they wait to return to their homeland.