WEEK 02, 08-14.01.1996

The Tunesian President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali and the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi held talks on bilateral cooperation and regional issues. They also discussed the issue of the Arab Magreb and reaffirmed their "attachment to the Maghreb entity", giving a response to the ask of Morocco to freeze temporary the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) in a protest against Algeria's position in the Western Sahara conflict.

The Sahrawi President Mohamed Abdelaziz explained in an interview with the algerian radio and also in the daily newspaper "Le Matin" (full text in french) the actual situation of the referendum. There are no differences between the sahrawi position and the peace plan which was endorsed in 1991, he said. The problem had arisen between the UN Security Council and the Moroccan authorities. It had been Morocco that wanted to move away from the peace plan and had intended to impose a significant number of moroccan voters. Concerning Mr. Gharekhan's visit to the region and as an expression of his hope that the visit would be profitable, Mr. Abdelaziz said: In order to push the situation forward one should head for the Moroccan side and call on it to respect its commitments and accept the Spanish census of 1974.

King Hassan of Morocco freed more than 700 prisoners on occasion of the 52th anniversary of the country's independence manifesto.

Mr. Chinmya Gharekhan, special Representative of U.N. Secretary General, turned back to New York after his one week visit to Morocco (03.01), the Sharawi refugee camps (05.01.), Mauritania (06.01), El Ayun (07.01.?), Alger ( 08-09.01.). His report will be presented to the Security Council on january 15th.

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