Finnish Friends of Western Sahara

Press release 1.9.2005


Finnish minister urges EU action in Western Sahara

Finnish Foreign Minister Mr Erkki Tuomioja recently published an internet column titled "Let's not forget Western Sahara" (25.8.2005 He states that "one of the most prolonged and forgotten conflicts in the world" needs more attention, and regrets that "(A)ll attempts of mediation and conflict resolution have eventually failed due to Morocco's unwillingness to accept a peace proposal that includes the option of independent Western Sahara."

Mr Tuomioja expresses cautious optimism toward current diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict over Western Sahara, especially the recent appointments of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy and the Head of Minurso. He welcomes the release of 404 Moroccan POWs in late August and anticipates a positive response from Morocco that still holds some 150 Polisario prisoners.

Mr Tuomioja wishes the current momentum be in every way utilized for effecting a permanent peace solution. "The EU should be more active and use its influence above all on Morocco", Mr Tuomioja writes. A first step, he proposes, is to push for solving the humanitarian questions concerning the disappeared persons and prisoners in Western Sahara.

For more information:

Henri Onodera Tarja Kantola

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