The Minister of Information, Sid'Ahmed Batal, expressed his government's "astonishment", after the publication of a dispatch from the press agency Associated Press (AP), "littered with mistakes and innuendoes tending to confuse the legitimate struggle of the Saharawi people for self-determination, with international terrorism and contraband."(SPS)
In a dispatch from Rabat, dated 05.02. and entitled "Securing the Sahara at the centre of Maghreb country concerns and their Western allies", Nicolas Marmié, correspondent for AP, presented as on the same basis "Contrabandiers, armed Islamic militants, independence rebels of the Polisario Front (...) which move around more or less freely in the immense desert of the Sahara." Same note in Aujourd'hui le Maroc of 06.02., with headline "The Polisario, breeding ground of terrorism". (The same agency broadcast on 19.02 a report by the same author announcing that the 100 Moroccan prisoners of war had been handed over to the ICRC, when they were still in Tindouf).
The Council of Ministers decreed that 18 June should be an annual "national day of the disappeared" and called for pressure to be put on Morocco to make it shed light on the fate of the Saharawi disappeared and to guarantee individual freedoms of citizens in the occupied territories. (SPS)
The fourth Sahara Marathon will begin on 23 February next, with the participation of over two hundred athletes from different nationalities, who will run the regulation 42,159 km separating the wilaya of El Ayoun.
El Khalil Sidi M'Hamed, the emissary of President Mohamed Abdelaziz, was received in Nouakchott by the Mauritanian President, Maaouiya Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya. (SPS)
Release of 100 Moroccan prisoners of war
The Polisario Front announced the unilateral release of 100 Moroccan prisoners of war, including officers. This release came at the festival of Aïd al Adha, following a request from Qatar. The Polisario Front asked Qatar to intervene with Morocco, with a request to liberate Saharawi soldiers and to shed light on the fate of the disappeared.
MINURSO hails planned release of 100 Moroccan POWs in Western Sahara.(UN News)
The presidency of the European Union welcomed this decision. It reiterates its appeal for the liberation of the remaining 514 prisoners and invites the two parties to the conflict to respect their humanitarian commitments and to cooperate to find the missing disappeared persons.(declaration)
The Saharawi Minister of Cooperation, Salek Baba Hacena, making a statement at a press conference in Merida (Spain), described as "critical" the food situation of the Saharawi people and warned of the imminence of a humanitarian catastrophe, caused by considerable delays in the aid programs of international organisation which have not received the necessary finance.
Moulay Brahim Ali Maati, Saharawi citizen, born on 20 January 1975 in Smara, was arrested on 4 February, on the pretext of complicity with a common law detainee condemned to 3 years in prison. El Maaiti is known for his constant devotion to the defence of human rights. He has served as translator during meetings of foreign delegations with families of disappeared Saharawis as well as with victims of Moroccan repression in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. AFAPREDESA strongly condemns this serious violation of human rights perpetrated by the authorities of the Moroccan occupation.(AFAPREDESA french or spanish)
Mohamed Bahia Sidi Brahim Errachid, Saharawi citizen, was questioned by the Moroccan police in a cafeteria on Mecca Street in occupied El Ayoun. Without explanation he was beaten up, taken to the police station and brutally tortured. This same day a football match was being played between Algeria and Morocco, an occasion for Saharawi youth to give expression to its refusal of Moroccan occupation by taking the side of the Algerian team. The public prosecutor of El Ayoun ordered the incarceration of Errachid in the Black Prison. Numerous disputes and attacks against Saharawis took place because of that football match. (AFAPREDESA, french or spanish )
Joint patrols of the Moroccan gendarmerie and the Spanish Civil Guard are going to supervise the coastal zone off-shore from the Canary Islands and from El Ayoun in order to locate and intercept boats carrying illegal immigrants.
According to the Polisario representative in the UN, visiting the Canary Islands, the sending of these patrols into the territorial waters of Western Sahara constitutes a violation of international law.
International Socialist Council, Madrid
The Coordination of Spanish Associations of solidarity with the Saharawi people asked the Spanish socialists, in a letter, to defend before the Council of I.S. the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination in the face of Morocco's "intransigence". (spanish)
Meeting in Madrid of the Task Force of the European Coordination of support for the Saharawi people.
Appeal to the International Community from the European co-ordination of support to the Saharawi people.
The Nobel Peace Prize-winner, José Ramos Horta, Minister of Foreign Affairs for East Timor, considers that Paris "is putting its image at stake by the incoherence of its position on the conflict of Western Sahara" and that this position of a permanent member of the Security Council "could be a disservice to the UN". Ramos Horta was replying to questions from the journalist Ana Camacho for Mundo Negro.
UN - decolonisation
Opening of the 2004 session of the Special Committee of 24, Press, Release SG/SM/9155 GA/COL/3091.
Foreign Affairs Committee
On the initiative of the Greens, the Committee supported a motion in four parts, which asks for the support of the government for the peace process in Western Sahara. The Committee expressly supports Kofi Annan's peace process and asks the government to commit itself in favour of the Saharawis' right to self-determination, and for the active participation of European countries in the peace process, and for the respect of human rights in this region and the release of all political prisoners.
"Should everything proceed as planned, we expect the first family visit flight to take place in early March," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva.
The Arab language Moroccan weekly Al-Ousbou' wrote on 13 February that "the Moroccan authorities went back on their decision to cooperate with the ICRC (sic) to allow Saharawis to visit their relatives. Morocco is keen that Saharawis should not enter until they have attested to their "Moroccan" identity and that those who want to go and stay with their family in the Sahara should be authorised to do it, while the Polisario puts as a condition that the security of travellers should be ensured from their departure until their return in Tindouf."
The Democratic Confederation of Labour (CDT) decided to exclude Tamek, who is a member of its administrative committee and secretary general of the Assa branch.
The Moroccan extreme left brought together in the G5 (GSU, Ennahj Addimocrati , PADS, CNI and Fidelity to Democracy) makes up a united front, which should become a political party in the medium term. Let us recall that Ennajh Addimocrati still argues for "self-determination for the Saharawis", while others back a "political solution which does not question Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara". (Tel Quel, 17.02.04)
«European Parliament resolution on the EU's rights, priorities and recommendations for the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva (15 March to 23 April 2004) »
Declaration of Mohamed Sidati , 11.02.04.
Guipuzkoa: Caravana solidaria con los saharauis
Una caravana de camiones, cargados con 120 toneladas de alimentos reunidos por 45 municipios guipuzcoanos y diferentes empresas, ONGs y colegios, partió de Donostia rumbo a los campamentos de refugiados saharauis.>Balance de la campaña
Sevilla: Caravana por la paz
Este proyecto transportá a los campamentos 11 trailers con 250.000 Kg. de alimentos.
Otras : Caravana Andaluza de Ayuda al Sahara 2004, el camion de la Asociación Zamorana con los Niños del Sáhara, Asociación de Amigos del Sáhara de Cordoba, Burgos, Salamanca, Caravana de Castilla y Leon, Caravana Linarense, etc...
COMING UP... >> see also agenda
27 de Febrero:
fiesta anual de la República Árabe Saharaui
El Ayuntamiento de San Sebastian, Dirección de Juventud, Educación, Cooperación y Derechos Humanos oganiza diversos actos testimoniales: 24.02.04 proyección del Documental Sahara Maratón, 26.02.04 Conferencia y presentación del libro La historia prohibida del Sahara español, impartida por el periodista y autor del libro Tomás Bárbulo. 26.02-13.03.04 exposición sobre el Sahara Occidental, el país del pueblo saharaui.
Rally for Saharawi National Day - to call on the UN to organise the promized referendum for self-determination in Western Sahara - AWSA - Australia Western Sahara Association. Friday 27th February, 12:30 - 1:30pm, UN Information Centre, 46-48 York Street, Sydney, Australia.
Vuelos charter a los campamentos de refugiados saharauis
International march to the wall of shame in Western Sahara , New agenda: 22-25.04.04
UJSARIO: Documents de l'atelier jeunesse de l'Eucoco 2003.
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]
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LIBRO: "Mientras soñaba... (al oeste del sahára)", Agripín Montilla Mesa, Ediciones Litopress, 2003, 590 páginas.