31.01- 06.2.1999



Tens of millions of landmines, including over 10 million antipersonnel mines, are still buried in the Maghreb, according to experts at a colloquium held in Tunis, sponsored by the Arab institute for human rights. Morocco is responsible for planting the greatest number of landmines in recent times. According to Mr. Elomari, Director of the Paris-based Observatoire des Transferts d'Armements and co-organizer of the meeting, 2.5 to 3 million landmines have been planted "to protect" some 120 000 km2 of the sand wall running through the Western Sahara. He also stated that the Mauritanian border is mined. Most of these landmines were manufactured in Italy and the United States. The Ottawa Treaty, which comes into effect on March 1, prohibits the production, use, stockpiling and sale of antipersonnel mines. Tunisia ratified the treaty, Algeria signed it and Mauritania has started the ratification process, while Morocco and Lybia have opposed it (AFP).

"Morocco does not want to say "yes" to the Secretary-General's proposals," says Fadel Ismaïl, who believes that Rabat is being two-faced in its response. "On the one hand, it is trying to wear out the United Nations. On the other hand, it is concerned about hiding the truth from the public. In fact, Rabat could care less about the Secretary-General, and even less so about the Security Council.," according to the Polisario representative to France (APS).


A Sahrawi delegation, headed by the minister of the occupied territories,Brahim Ghali, was in Caracas to attend the inaugural ceremony of VenezuelanPresident, Hugo Chavez. The Sahrawi minister was received by the newPresident and met presidents Pastrana of Colombia, Mahuad of Ecuador,Sanguinetti of Uruguay and Castro of Cuba, among others.


The Polisario Front representative to the United Nations stated that the Polisario Front is calling on the members of the Security Council to adopt a firm position vis-à-vis Morocco, to force it to accept all of the Secretary-Generals proposals (APS).


Special Representative Charles Dunbar and Chairman of the Identification Commission, R. Kinloch, arrived in Rabat to continue discussions with Moroccan authorities. According to a diplomatic source, discussion are already being held within the Security Council regarding the future resolution. The Friends of the Western Sahara (United States, France, Spain, Great Britain, China and Russia) met on 3.2. The Security Council will begin consultations on February 9 to render a decision on February 10 regarding an extension of MINURSO's mandate, which expires the following day.


Spain, Galicia
30.01.99 The Galician Observatory "For a free referendum in the Western Sahara" was officially presented during a public ceremony at the St. Jacques de Compostelle university. The rector presided over the ceremony, attended by Nobel prizewinner for literature, José Saramago.

Spain, Andalucia
Collection of food as well as money to purchase 34 trucks as part of preparations for a peace caravan to the Sahrawi refugee camps.


20.02.99 20:40 ARTE (TV), "Les Sahraouis - un peuple oublié en exil", 55 min, French/German, documentary realised by Anita Lackenberger and Andrea Maurer. Production: TI:ME:CO:DE Berlin.
Made in October 1998 in the refugee camps. (Info: Andrea Maurer, khoffelner@salzburg.co.at).

London, March 20-28, 1999: SANDBLAST
A multi-cultural/multimedia celebration in solidarity with the Saharawis.
The event will include an exhibition of paintings and murals telling the story of the Saharawis, Saharawi Children's art, screening of latest British produced TV program on Western Sahara (Forgotten War, by highly accomplished director Christopher Mitchell), an AI presentation on human rights with Saharawi speakers, North African and Cuban food and a hot sizzling and entertaining night of music and dance with African, Jazz and Cuban performing artists.
The event is being organized to raise awareness and funds to buy a photocopier with replacement parts for AFRAPREDESA work (at their request) in the refugee camps.
(More infos, contact...)

Charter flight Rome - Tindouf, 30.03.99 - 04.04.99.
For information contact:


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