European Coordination of support to the Saharawi people, EUCOCO


Press Release - Western Sahara


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This Thursday January 23, 2003 at 10 a.m., Mr Von Butler, the German Ambassador  in Brussels, received a delegation led by Pierre Galand, President of EUCOCO, and composed of Paulette Pierson-Mathy, Professor of International Law, Michiel Maertens, Senator and Vice-president of the Intergroup of the European Parliament "Peace for the Saharawi People", and Pol Charles, Administrator of the CNCD (Centre National de Coopération au Développement, Belgium).

As before at the Spanish Embassy, the delegation presented documentation explaining the principal claims with regard to the inalienable right of the Saharawi people to a referendum of self-determination, the basic right of the refugees to international aid and the human rights of the Saharawi citizens in the Moroccan-occupied territories.

The delegation emphasised the special responsibility incumbent today on Europeans to defend international law. United Nations resolutions must be respected across the world and Europe must play its part in this.

In 1991, the United Nations Security Council fixed a framework for the settlement of the Western Sahara conflict by adopting the Peace plan and the referendum.

The Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara  is illegal and the European States must coordinate a clear response in order that international law should be respected.  Moreover, during the next few months, Germany can contribute to a resolution of the situation from within the Security Council.

Ambassador Von Butler thanked the delegation and declared himself impressed with their presentation of the Saharawi problem. While recognizing that Germany was not directly linked to either of the parties to the conflict, the Ambassador declared that his country is particularly attentive to the respect of international law, and also to humanitarian and human rights.

He undertook to communicate to his government, and to Minister Joschka Fischer, the information he had received as well as elements of the discussion that would allow the German government to contribute to progress on the issue of Western Sahara in line with UN resolutions.

Brussels, January 23, 2003.

Pierre GALAND, President EUCOCO.

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