The Saharawi Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, on an official visit to Madagascar, was welcomed at the airport by his Madagascan counterpart, Marcel Ranjeva. Accompanied by the Saharawi Ambassador in Madagascar, he was given an audience by the President of the Republic, Marc Ravalomanana, in the presence of the Madagascan Minister of Foreign Affairs. A message from President Mohamed Abdelaziz was handed to him. The talks bore on the political situation, bilateral relations and how to reinforce them. A meeting with the President of the Senate and the Vice-President of the National Assembly brought the visit to an end, which was widely reported in the media. (communiqué, SPS)
In a commentary on a study day in El Ayoun chaired by the Prime Minister, Youssoufi, on 18 July last, the Moroccan daily Le Matin du Sahara points out that «a recommendation which caught the attention of the authorities (...) It concerned the installation of a border post in the locality of Oumgrine [Bir Moghrein in Mauritania] on the frontier with a brother country, Mauritania. Knowing that a great part of the population of the south travel to the region of Zouirat in Mauritania for economic reasons, this post is likely to activate and revive the internal economy of the town of Smara in the way that a border post opened in February 2002 did in Grigrat on the coast of Lagouira [El Guregauarat, 50 km north of La Guera]».
This project of opening a road between Morocco and Mauritania through the defensive wall and the 5 km buffer zone represents a violation of the peace plan of the UN, just like the attempt at building a road across the border at El Guerguarat, was stopped last March by the UN (see week 12). (Le Matin du Sahara)
The Association of Unemployed Saharawis organised in El Ayoun, boulevard Alkayrawan, a peaceful demonstration of protest against the employment policy practised by the Moroccan authorities in Western Sahara. After half an hour only, the forces of the CMI (mobile company of intervention) and those of the FA (auxiliary forces) violently dispersed the demonstrators and proceeded to the arrest of six people, namely (after corrections of 02.029.02): Rahmouni Abidine, Nigro Mohamed, El Belaoui Hamadi , Lahmam Abdellah,Chamsdi Labeihi (Semesdi Lebeihi) et Mailad Salek. The police also searched the offices of the Association of Unemployed Saharawis the next day and confiscated documents. Since being set up, the Moroccan authorities have contested the legality of the Association of Unemployed even though it complies with the right to public liberties (Dahir 1958). On several occasions the Moroccan authorities have confiscated the nameplate on the door of its office. (corr.)
Responding to a question from the member of parliament, Søren Søndergaard, Red-Green Alliance, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finances, Mr Bendt Bendtsen, declared that the resolutions of the Security Council concerning WS are still the basis of Denmark's position. However, the implementation of these demands co-operation between the parties and it has not been possible up until now to find agreement to bring the referendum about. Denmark supports the efforts of the UN SG and of his personal envoy to find a solution to the conflict which is acceptable to both parties. (Statement PF Denmark)
In a letter from the Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joao Bernardo Da Miranda, sent to his Saharawi counterpart, the Angolan government affirms its support of the UN settlement plan and the Houston Agreement which should lead to the organisation of a referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people. The Angolan minister furthermore expressed his conviction that the UN would be able to resolve the conflict in harmony with its resolutions and expressed the wish that the Movement of non-aligned countries continues also to support the resolutions of the United Nations allowing the Saharawi people to pronounce themselves on their future. (SPS)
According to a statement from its embassy in Algiers, France recently sent to the World Food Programme (WFP) 2,176 tons of wheat flour, valued at a million euros, for the benefit of the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf. When it arrived in Oran the cargo was transported to Tindouf by the Algerian Red Crescent. This «humanitarian contribution» is part of the «constant concern of France and other contributors, in liaison with WFP to work towards the improvement of food security for the beneficiary populations», the statement points out. (APS)(EFE)
Pope John-Paul II gave an audience in his summer residence in Castelgandolfo to about fifty Saharawi children who are staying in Modena in Italy on the initiative of regional associations Rock No War and Associazione di Solidarietà Kabara Lagdaf of Modena. (corr.)
Domenica 22 Agosto 2002, tra le ore 11,45 e le 12,00, RAI 1, programma "A SUA IMMAGINE": servizio di 1,20 minuti, realizato da Barbara Borgiotti, giornalista RAI presente in audienza dal Santo Padre con i bimbi Saharawi.
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]