18 - 24.11.1996



Success for a Sahrawi exhibition at München

Trial about spying

Algerian statement

22nd European Conference for Coordination of Support to the Sahrawi People

New city at the phosphate mines of Bu-Craa

Delegation of Parliamentaries of the Andes visits Morocco

ICRC visits Moroccan POWs

Success for a Sahrawi-exhibition at München
The exhibition about Western Sahara [Theme: Ueberleben in der Wueste. Vom Nomadenzelt zum eigenen Staat: Menschen der Westsahara. Organisators : GFSV and KULA, München, Germany ], closed on Nov. 9 after having been prolonged for 2 weeks because the great success. It would perhaps be presented later at the Ethnographic Museum of Berlin.

Trial about spying

A Swedish court at Goeteborg trials a naturalised Swede, originally from Morocco, who spied on fellow Moroccans opposed to the Rabat government. The defendant held a position of trust in a Moroccan organisation in Sweden which he used to denounce supporters of Polisario. He sent information through diplomatic channels using the Moroccan embassy in Sweden (Reuter).

Algerian statement
In a statement broadcast by Algerian radio, Mr Attaf, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said, in reply to a question on contacts between Morocco and the Polisario, that there was in this area "a very favourable development which we are pleased about and which we encourage". He added that "this direct dialogue is first of all destined to have a very important psychological effect" in order "to break the barriers of mistrust" and then become "the preferred instrument for the settlement of this conflict". The minister also said that all the conflicts in the history of mankind, "were always solved around the negotiating table, and we are pleased that this has started to develop with regard to the Western Sahara conflict". He added that the United Nations Security Council on Monday 25 November "envisages extending the mandate of the Minurso for another six months and this will have also a positive development because it will give to all the parties concerned and also to the United Nations enough time to find the means of reactivating the implementation of the peace plan as agreed by the two parties".

22nd European Conference for Coordination of Support to the Sahrawi People, Sabadell, Spain
The Conference, which happened at a crucial moment of the conflict - after failure of the recent Morocco-Sahrawi contacts and before the decision of the Security Council about the implementation of the Peace Plan - and in a country largely concerned by this conflict, Spain, was very successfull.

At the opening session the President of the Parliament of Catalonia and the Mayor of Sabadell reaffirmed their solidarity with the Sahrawi people. Bachir Mustafa Sayed, the Polisario Front official in charge of dialogue with the UN mission, insisted on the necessity of international pressures to bring Morocco to a serious and open dialogue. He declared: "there is little probability that Rabat will come to a real dialogue". "In this condition, the return to war is quite unavoidable. Our friends have to be mobilized to tell to the international opinion, which is against violence, the legitimity of theSahrawi people's return to arms".

Bachir underlined that "the strategy of Rabat is still the same and obvious: it pretends to be ready to the dialogue in order to win time, and then it lays the blame on the Sahrawi side. The stopping of the dialogue is due first to differences over the venue, because the Moroccan side is asking for the dialogue to be held in Morocco, so as to benefit from the psychological and political advantage of having dialogue sessions held at home. But what is more dangerous and ominous is now Morocco's position at the current Security Council debates on the latest report by the UN secretary-general, which deals with two main topics. These are, first, the renewal of the task of the UN mission on the Western Sahara. This does not pose a problem, but what does pose a problem - and this is more important - is how the Security Council report will tackle the issue of dialogue, encouraging it and calling for its continuation. In this respect, the Moroccan side is taking an obdurate position, being intransigent and blocking perspectives".

Among the 250 participants from all European countries and Mexico, Algeria and Japan , we notice an important delegation from the USA, with VIPs like John R. Bolton, former Assistant Secretary of State and former vice Minister of Justice, former vice Ambassador Frank Ruddy and numerous lawyers, specialists of international law, etc participating to the creation of an International Association of Lawyers for Western Sahara (see the statement of Mr. J. Chopra at the pannel of this Association).

The Conference published a "Final Declaration" (french or spanish).

New city at the phosphate mines of Bu-Craa
The Moroccan authorities prepare the construction of a new city near the Bou-Craa phosphate mines in the occupied Western Sahara, about 100 km south of El Ayoun. In this new town named "Al Warda" (The Unity) about 400 residences will be built in the next 4 years to lodge 2000 people. Actually the miners live at El Ayoun.
30% of the capital of the phosphate mine company are in the hands of the Spanish National Institute of Industry which has invested 7'500 millions of Pesetas in 1991, the remains belongs to the Moroccan State by the way of the "Office Chérifien des Phosphates". Phosphate is the most important export good for Morocco and represents its third source of foreign currency after the money of the emigrants and tourism. (EFE)

Deputy Delegation of the Andes visits Morocco
A delegation of 3 members of the Parliament of the Andes, under the leading of its president Mr. Turbay Quintero, stays for 4 days in Morocco. They met the different parliamentary groups which asked them to defend the Moroccan point of view before the Parliament of the Andes. The Andin Group is involving Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Equador, all countries which recognize the SADR. (EFE)

ICRC visits Moroccan POWs
Between 28 October and 9 November 1996 a team of six delegates, including a doctor, visited 847 of the approximately 1,920 Moroccan POWs still held by the Polisario Front. This was the last of a series of three visits carried out between December 1995 and November 1996, during which delegates met nearly all of these prisoners. Most have been in captivity for over 15 years.


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