WEEK 20, 13-19.05.1996


12 05 96
Memorandum about the Secretary-general's report
In a memorandum to the UN Security Council in response to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's latest proposals on the status quo in the former Spanish colony, Polisario has blamed Morocco and the United Nations for the failure of the Western Sahara peace plan. Polisario stressed that the stalemate in the Western Sahara peace plan was mainly due to Morocco' s open opposition to a free and fair referendum in the region and the UN peacekeeping forces' lack of firmness while supervising the implementation of the peace plan.
The flat refusal of Rabat to the transparency's principle in the implementation of the peace process was a critical and revealing factor of its negativ behaviour. Rabat was firmly opposed to the publication of the lists of the applicants, who were soon considered as beeing entitled to vote. This was a U.N. decision of January 31, 1996.
To maintain solely the cease-fire would be a caution to the occupation of the territory and put the U.N. in a wrong position in comparison with its vocation in matter of decolonization.
According to the Polisario Front, the U.N., in order to avoid a war, must:
  • recognize that the problem is a matter of decolonization
  • realize the transparency in the voters' identification,
  • call urgently for direct negociations,
  • show its will, not to hurt the rights of the Sahrawi people by unilateral decisions.
  • The Polisario Front notifies that the end of the peace process will conduct to a major crisis, and that Morocco is the only responsible. It persists to privilege a peaceful solution but is decided to defend its rights by all means .
    After beeing received by the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Ould Salek, the Sahrawi Minister of State at the Presidency, declared in Bamako that "He was here to brief the Malian authorities on the situation prevailing in Western Sahara." "A new and very serious situation is now developing in the subregion. Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Algeria, as well as all the countries of the subregion, all African countries, are concerned".

    The Security Council holds closed consultations about the last report of Secretary-General concerning the situation in Western Sahara.
    In a letter addressed to the president of the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Mohamed Abdelaziz warned the United Nations that a proposal to suspend registration of voters for a referendum in the disputed Western Sahara could have serious consequences for the area. "A recent report by Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali freezes any serious effort towards a political solution to the conflict", Abdelaziz said in the letter. He added that adoption of Boutros-Ghali's proposal could lead to "serious and unpredictable consequences". "By proposing scaling down the United Nations activities in the Western Sahara to a mere observation mission, the report violates the political spirit under which the United Nations operates," Abdelaziz added.
    Human Rights Watch renews its concerns with U.N. operation in Western Sahara.
    In a letter Human Rights Watch urges the Security Council to send human rights monitors to the Western Sahara, because the withdrawal of the civilian component of the MINURSO will lead to even greater human rights violations in the Western Sahara.
    It also calls on the Security Council to revitalize MINURSO by introducing new leadership, as well as to investigate fundamental flaws in the referendum process, that HRW has further identified (report of October 1995).
    Finally, HRW urges the Security Council to work for the release of political prisoners and prisoners of war without further delay.

    German Parliamentary Mission asks for exchange of prisoners of war
    After the trip in Morocco and Western Sahara, the president of the German Parliamentary Mission, Mr. Brecht, SPD, asks cancelor H. Kohl to convince king Hassan II of the necessity of an exchange of POWs. Mr. Kohl will be on official visit in Morocco next month.
    The Polisario Front announced to the German deputees its agreement for the liberation of its prisoners, but it expects the same about its own combatants jailed in Morocco. The Moroccan government was very reserved about the German proposal.
    The deputy Hirsch (FDP) signalized to the German Foreign Minister that 2000 Moroccan POWs are detained by the Polisario. It is "an unacceptable scandal" that those men are still jailed in spite of the ceasefire. According to the Polisario Front, Morocco shows no interest to take home its prisoners, it does not want to negociate with the Polisario. According to Morocco, where about one hundred of Sahrawis are detained, the exchange should take place just before the referendum (Frankfurter Allgemeine, 04.05.96).
    The "Agadir's Six" (Keltoum Lounat and five young Sahrawis, who were sentenced to 20 years in prison for participation to a peacefull demonstration in Smara in 1992, have been pardoned by Hassan II. The pardon has been notifiied to the ICRC by the Moroccan government.
    Amnesty international has been pleased with this liberation.
    The eight young Sahrawis, who were sentenced in June 1995 to 15 to 20 years of prison, sentences which Hassan II reduced to one year, came out of jail . (AFP, Rabat).
    The three MINURSO identification offices of Dakhla, Boujdour and Smara (Western Sahara) and the office of Nouadhibou (Mauritania) have been closed.


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