07.-11.11.98 UN SG Kofi Annan's visit in the Maghreb


In his speach in occasion of the anniversary of the "Green March", on November 6, Hassan II presented to the Saharawis the material advantages of beeing incorporated to the Kingdom.
The Polisario Front, in a communique, said it regrets the King persistent intransigence and colonial policy of "fait accompli".
Basri, Minister of Interior, together with the Minister of Finance Walalou and the Minister of Fishing El Khyari, went to Awsserd (South of Western Sahara) on November 6, in order to examine the future arrangements in the city of Awsserd, which "will have to welcome the Saharawis from the neighbour countries".
On November 8, Basri announced in El Ayun that the King ordered the construction of 5'000 houses in Awsserd and 15'000 in other parts of W.S., 20'000 more would be built "on the day after the referendum" to lodge the "repatriates from Tinduf".

The stages

Nuakshott, 07.11.98
Arriving from Rabat by a private Moroccan airplane, Kofi Annan speaks with Mauretanian President Wuld Taya.

El Ayun, 08.11.98
Annan is welcomed at the airport by Basri. Along the two kilometers way to the hotel Parador thousands of people proclaim slogans in favor of Morocco and wave Moroccan flags and portraits of the King. The shops were ordered to close. The foreign journalists could not contact freely the population.

El Ayun, 09.11.98
MINURSO head quarter. Annan in his speach to the UN staff insists that the delay of the referendum "does not derive from any lack of initiative or commitment" of the Mission but "from the complexity of the issue we face, the strength of beliefs on both sides, and the difficulty of completing a compromise that may genuinely satisfy both sides." Adding: "We must succeed here if we are to succeed elsewhere".
Meeting with Saharawi chiefs and other leaders in presence of Basri. In his speach Annan underlines the importance of a quick ratification of the proposed agreements. Some shiukhs declare the publication of the provisory voters list could lead to "a civil war".
In his press conference Kofi Annan pointed out with a touch of irony the "freedom of expression, the freedom of association and the freedom of participation" he noted at his arrival at El Ayun.

Marrakesh, 09.11.98
Two hours audience with King Hassan II.
Basri in an interview with AP agency repeats that "there is no third way".
Salek Bobih, Saharawi Ambassador in Algiers, exprimes in an official declaration the will and disponibility of the Polisario Front to cooperate with the UN. He denounces Morrocos attempt to turn the self-determination referendum into a colonial vote.

Marrakesh, 10.11.98
Meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Interior and the Representative at the UN. Later meeting with the Presidents of the Parliamentary Chambers. Second private audience with King Hassan II, followed by a larger work session.
No agreement has been found and Filali declares the discussions will continue. The Moroccan response will be transmitted to the UN by the diplomatic way at the end of this month.

Marrakesh, 11.11.98
For reason of the Iraqi crisis, Annan stops his visit and turns to New York. In a telephone call with the Saharawi President he regrets this suspension and confirms to Mohamed Abdelaziz he will resume his trip in the region as quick as possible.

Tinduf, 12.11.98
Charles Dunbar meets with the Saharawi Authorities.

An uncompleted journey
In his last Report, approved by the Security Council, the SG proposed the following steps:

After the mission of Assistant SG B. Miyet (see week 43), the SG could announce in his last Report, his proposals would be accepted and formalized before his visit. This fact was not confirmed and his trip, unfortunately shortened, became a mission of conciliation. The discussions with the Moroccan authorities did not succeed. Morrocco will transmit its answer on November 30.
Why does Morocco persist in obstructing the process, even though its main demand, the identification of the contested tribes, has been agreed by the Polisario ? According to serious sources the identification established an electorate of about 85'000 Saharawi voters, who belong in great majority to the independentists. And the results of the identification of the contested tribes will not change it seriously.
Morocco is caught in its own trap. The publication of the voters list will cause a shock to the public opinion and the leading politicians, victims of a policy of "head in the sand", as F. Soudan notes in his article in Jeune Afrique. That is the reason why Morocco paradoxically refuses now the publication of this list, hindering once more a referendum it claims to be held as quick as possible.

European Union

Morocco announces it will not renew the fishing agreements ending December 1999 in its present terms.


The new SADR Ambassador Hash Ahmed presented his letters of credence to the President Yamil Mahuad.

Cultura e Libertà, Una voce per il popolo Saharawi, conference at the Università Popolare, Rossano, 07.11.98.
The Saharawi music group "Leyoad" continues with great success its tour in several main cities of Germany. After Kiel, Lübek, Husum, Bonn, Darmstadt, Bremen and Hamburg it will play in Frankfurt, Berlin and Hannover.



[Summary Weekly News,] [Western Sahara Homepage]