PRESS RELEASE.............

 Western Sahara (POLISARIO) - Mission for UK & Ireland

19 Hormead Road, London
W9 3NG - T/F: 020 89 64 52 11



On the occasion of the Moroccan Foreign Minister's visit to the UK,

Morocco should be reminded of the necessity to respect the UN-OAU Peace Plan for Western Sahara

London, 19 February 2002

According to the French Moroccan newspaper L'Economiste of 19 February, Mr. Mohamed Benaïssa, the Moroccan Foreign minister will be paying a visit to UK the 21st and 22nd of February 2002 . During this visit, the Moroccan minister will meet Mr. Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs according to the same sources. This visit also takes place some days before the first meeting of the Moroccan-British Business Council expected to be on 28 February in London.

The POLISARIO Front and the Sahrawi Government would like to recall on this occasion the illegal presence of Morocco in Western Sahara since 1975, date of the Moroccan military invasion - in violation of international law - of the former Spanish Sahara, now the last remaining colony in Africa.

We urge Her Majesty's Government to remind Morocco of the necessity to respect the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination through a free, fair and transparent referendum, according to the 1991 UN-OAU Settlement Plan, the 1997 Houston agreements, the verdict of the International Court of Justice of 10 October 1975 and the conclusions of the UN LegalOpinion of 29 January 2002.

We also recall that any trade with Morocco concerning arms will be certainly used to strengthen the position of the Moroccan army in Western Sahara and will encourage Morocco to continue its illegal occupation of Western Sahara and its refusal to implement the UN-OAU Peace Plan. The desire of some British circles to increase trade with Morocco should not make UK act in contradiction with its role as a Permanent member of the UN Security Council, responsible for peace and stability in the world.

Fadel Ismail

Head of Western Sahara (POLISARIO) Mission for UK & Ireland


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