(News of The Sahara)
Western Sahara Mission Newsletter. N°6, 17 March 2002
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Western Sahara is a political issue, it is not an economic one
Only the Moroccan settlers make the most of the investments in the Sahrawi occupied territories
Western Sahara cannot be compared to Corsica, Catalonia or Bavaria
Following the last visit of the king of Morocco to the Sahrawi occupied territories, the Moroccan government has launched an all-out offensive of disinformation whose objective is to distort reality and delude international public opinion by reducing the Western Sahara conflict to a simple economic issue.
Indeed, the creation of the Moroccan Economic Development Agency in the occupied territories of Western Sahara is just an attempt to try and convince the international community to reconsider the rejected option of autonomy as solution to the Western Sahara decolonisation issue.
But Western Sahara issue is a political one, it is not an economic issue. The Sahrawis are capable of being self-sufficient. Moreover the so-called Moroccan money to be spent in Western Sahara is nothing but a tiny part of the huge capital collected illegally by means of systematic plundering of the Sahrawi natural resources. And only the Moroccan settlers make the most of it. Why doesn't Morocco invest in the Moroccan regions which are really in need instead of Western Sahara that it is bound to leave sooner or later ?!
It is therefore worth recalling that the question of Western Sahara is a decolonisation issue. Western Sahara cannot be compared to Corsica, Catalonia or Bavaria. It is a country whose independence is historically confirmed. Those who, in Morocco and France, try to replace the law with the realpolitik and deprive the Sahrawi people of their right to self-determination and independence commit a crime against humanity and must answer for the consequences of their actions. (Akhbar Es-Sahra)
Extraordinary session, the National Secretariat of the POLISARIO Front condemns the visit undertaken by the King of Morocco to the occupied territories of Western Sahara and calls the policies of Rabat "intransigent and pre-emptive". (SPS, 07.03.02)
President Mohamed Abdelaziz: "Since the death of Hassan II all the actions of the Moroccan powers have been marked by various political faults, pre-emptiveness, "ignoring" reality, provocations and showing the will to escalation". "The latest report of the UN secretary general is distinguished by more objectivity, seriousness and fairness (...) because it foresees (...) the return to the peace plan concluded in Houston between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front.
Therefore, a return to the option of the referendum of self-determination, (...) that the UN should organise " "for the first time in eleven years, the UN secretary general (...) clearly points out the party which was at the origin of the blockage in the peace process, namely Morocco. For our part, and even if we give priority to the first option (the referendum), we are ready, as we have always been, to collaborate with the UN secretary general and his special representative, Mr James Bakes, to sort out any solution going in the direction of the interests of our people." "On 27 February last, Mr Baker was invited to a meeting of the Security Council." (...) He replied (to a question on the viability of a Sahrawi state) that "all the elements which would constitute an independent Sahrawi state had come together." (Le Soir d'Algérie, 06.03.03)
New Sahrawi Ambassador in Ethiopia, Sadafa Bahia, presents his credentials as permanent representative of SADR to the OAU. The General Secretary of OAU on this occasion renews the position of his organisation in favour or a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara.( 04.03.02)
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika : " Algeria has no ambition and its only demand is the implementation of international legality by everybody and in all trust "
"[...]Algeria is certain that a fair and faithful implementation of the peace plan - which was accepted by the fraternal Kingdom of Morocco and the POLISARIO Front in Houston and for which the international community paid a huge effort - remains the only or preferred or exemplary means which can provide a just and durable solution which is in accordance with international legality to the conflict in the Western Sahara. Thus, Algeria will be cleared from the accusations with which we have nothing to do. We are proud of our country Algeria, we have no designs or ambitions in Morocco or the Sahara. I stress before you, so that you will be my witness everywhere you go, that Algeria has no ambition and its only demand is the implementation of international legality by everybody and in all trust.
We have a common destiny with the fraternal people of Morocco for whom we have all the love and respect as we share strong ties which cannot be broken. However, we do not enter into a collusion even with brothers. We want to overcome this crisis and the best means for this consists in following the international legality which is acceptable to all and which does not leave any pain in people's minds...". (wsahara online, BBC Monitoring Service)
Amara Essy : Western Sahara issue remains a question of de-colonisation The Western Sahara question remains for the OAU a question of de-colonisation and the continental organisation remains attached to a solution founded on the will freely expressed by the Sahraoui people in conformity with the UN settlement plan. In an introductory note to the report presented on Thursday to the 75th session of the OAU council of ministers in Addis Ababa, the OAU secretary general, Mr Amara Essy deeply referred to the Western Sahara question. He then recalled the developments which intervened on the question since the last session of the council which took place in Lusaka in July 2001. In this context, the general secretary insisted upon the rejection by the POLISARIO front and Algeria of the framework agreement.
This framework agreement , Mr Amara Essy stressed, ''is not a mutually acceptable way to be followed to achieve progress in the peace process ''. The OAU secretary general also pointed out the opinion of the UN legal adviser, expressed at the request of the security council, following the signing by Morocco of prospecting contracts with American and French oil groups.
This opinion, which intervened on January 29, 2002 reaffirmed, it was recalled, that the Western Sahara question remains a question of de-colonisation and that Madrid accords of 1975 do not constitute a transfer of sovereignty to none of the signatories of these accords, as the unilateral transfer of the administrative authority of Spain towards Morocco does not affect by the international statute of Western Sahara, as a non autonomous territory ''.
Mr Essy also stressed the fact that the OAU remains totally engaged to the research of a mutually acceptable solution, founded on the will freely and democratically expressed by the Sahraoui people, in conformity with the UN settlement plan. In this context, the OAU secretary general exhorted the UN to intensify their efforts aiming at finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the Western Sahara problem, on the basis of international legacy. In this connection, he launched an appeal to the international community so as it brings a humanitarian assistance to Sahraoui refugees. (Algérie Presse Service, 14 Mar. 2002)
>> EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
The European Parliament intergroup "Peace for the Sahrawi People" has deplored the journey undertaken by King Mohamed VI on 5th and 6th of March 2002 to the occupied territories of Western Sahara, as we deplored the two previous and similar journeys undertaken by the King at the end of the year 2001.
"Such a journey is causing great concern because it goes in the opposite direction of the context established by the United Nations and the efforts of the international community towards a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in Western Sahara in accordance with international law".
Swedish Western Sahara Committee denounces Moroccan campaign of lies and manipulation:
ArabicNews and some Moroccan papers have reported on events in and about Sweden witch are totally invented and false. It has been said that two Swedish non-governmental organizations "have voiced concern over the dismal situation of the Sahrawis forcibly detained in Tindouf" and that they have had a meeting in Stockholm with "Yahia Alamine, spokesman of the Association of the Survivors of the Polisario Jails".
One of the organizations is an unknown Human Rights Association and the other is called the "Foreningen Vastsaharas Hesmida" which must mean the "Homepage of the Swedish Western Sahara Committee".[http://hem1.passagen.se/ellberg/sahara.htm] It has been said that the Foreningen Vastsahara has sent an investigating committee to the Tindouf camps "to enquire about the dire situation of the Sahrawis detained by the Polisario separatists". Yesterday it was reported that "Survivors of POLISARIO jails get strong backing in Sweden" and that a solidarity committee with journalists and businessmen had been set up in the town of Karlstad.
The truth is that our organization is very aware of the situation of the Sahrawis in the camps and in the occupied territory. We have had no meeting with "Yahia Alamine" but we often have appointments with Lamine Yahiaoui from the Polisario Nordic Office in Stockholm. We have sent no such investing committee to the Tindouf camps but we have several times been guests in the camps. The meeting and the actors of Karlstad are unknown in Sweden and the backing has been invisible.
The reason for the invented Moroccan campaign and the real interest for Sweden must be the strong support from Swedish officials, parliamentarians and NGO:s to the rights of the Sahrawi people - the rights to self-determination and independence. But the Moroccan lies will not affect the Swedish society. Morocco is nervous on the next UN Security Council decision. It is understandable because the only possible decision is to strengthen Minurso and complete the settlement plan including a referendum. Jan Strömdahl, chairman of the Swedish Western Sahara Committee, Stockholm (Stockholm, Sweden, March 15, 2002).
Abdallah Harif, national secretary of the An-Nahdj Dimoqrati Party (the democratic way): "Our position is known : we are for the right to self-determination of the inhabitants of the Sahara. (...) The third and the fourth ways are technical solutions which do not respond to the real problem, which is the question of democracy and respect of the will of the inhabitants." (As-Sahifa Al-Ousbouiya, review of the press by the French Embassy in Rabat, 03.03.02)
The organisation "Moroccan Democratic Youth Abroad" raises the possibility of a direct dialogue with the Sahrawi Union of Youth, UJSARIO. (As-Sahifa al-Ousbouiya, quoted by the review of the press by the French Embassy in Rabat, 08.03.02)
Spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (01.03.02): "We welcome the adoption of resolution 1394 by the Security Council. (...) We continue to support the efforts of the Secretary General and Mr Baker, his special representative. (...) The position of France has not moved. We continue to argue for a solution which is acceptable to both parties, Morocco and the POLISARIO, and in conformity with the principles recognised by the international community."
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