Debate in the British Parliament

In a debate in the British House of Commons about the "UK Role in Europe," Ms Tess Kingham, MP (Labour), spoke about how the EU aid budget has been spent. She said she was shocked to learn that Morocco receives more EU aid than any other country. "Morocco shot up from nowhere to become the top country receiving EU aid; it did not even feature in the top 10 countries receiving EU aid in the previous 10 years.(...) I cannot believe that, all of a sudden, Morocco has dropped in the world rankings, ceased being a middle-income country and suddenly become one of the poorest in the world...". She added, "Morocco is not only a middle-income country receiving EU aid, but is spending about $1 million a day illegally occupying Western Sahara. Therefore, while receiving EU aid money to the tune of $280 million a year, it is spending $365 million a year illegally occupying another country. Allowing such a situation to continue does not demonstrate good, open, democratic and accountable governance in the EU... The EU should be flexing its strategic muscles and promoting good practice by trying to ensure that peace continues in the Mediterranean and North Africa region." (...) She further added, "I believe that the United Kingdom Government, the EU and the EU member states have a very important role to play in urging Morocco to move towards peace, and to accept and respond positively to the new United Nations peacekeeping package."

European Parliament Resolution

The European Parliament adopted a resolution that "urges" Morocco to accept the UN Secretary General's proposals "within the delays fixed by the UN" and to allow the deployment of UNHCR activities in the Western Sahara. The resolution, presented by socialist and popular groups, liberals, the unitarian left and greens, called on the Commission and the Council to give the "fullest possible support to the further preparatory work for the referendum process", to bolster humanitarian aid to the Sahrawi people and to send observers.
"This resolution demonstrates clear support for the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination and freedom," stated Minister Sidati, who applauded the adoption of "this important resolution." He said it was time that "the European Union use its influence to pressure the Moroccan government to end its double talk." (full text french)


Andalucia, Spain
12.01.99: Sahrawi Health Minister Bachir Mustapha Sayed was in Granada to formalize the creation of a body to coordinate the health activities of some 30 Sahrawi support organizations in Andalucia. Its priority will be to help children injured by antipersonnel mines (Ideal, Granada).

Cosenza, Italy
16.01.99: Sahrawi indipendente - Il ruolo delle istituzioni nella rete de solidarietà internazionale, seminario organizzato dell'Amministrazione provinziale di Cosenza, con diversi interventi, conclusioni di Carlo Leoni del Gruppo Interparlamentare di solidarietà con il Popolo Sahrawi.


Rome, Italy
"I diritti del popolo sahrawi: quali prospettive per l'autodeterminazione ?", relazione di Mohamed Salem nel ciclo di seminari "Il futuro dei diritti umani", Lega per i dirittti dei popoli, Roma (nella sede dell'Associazione Occhi Aperti, via Sprovieri 9, Roma, lunedi 25.01.99, ore 17,30).


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