Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA)
Annan warned of war on eve of Australian visit
The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan met the Polisario leader, Mohamed Abdelaziz, in New York on February 7th, to discuss the UN peace plan for Western Sahara. The Polisario leader has warned that if the UN referendum is delayed beyond this year, war is likely to resume again with dire consequences for the whole region. Kofi Annan will present a crucial report on the issue by February 29th.
On the eve of the UN Secretary General's visit to Australia we would like to draw attention to an issue which has been on the UN agenda since 1966. The conflict in Western Sahara is a situation which has many parallels with East Timor.
Since 1991 the UN has been supervising a cease-fire in Western Sahara and trying to implement a UN and OAU (Organisation of African Unity) peace plan, based on a referendum of self-determination for the Saharawi people.
The referendum was originally set for January 1992 but has been repeatedly delayed by Morocco, which wanted to include thousands of Moroccans in the voting lists.
Although the UN has published on 17 January the lists of those who are eligible to vote in the referendum, Morocco is still attempting to delay the UN-OAU referendum beyond the date scheduled for it in July 2000.
The Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA), President Jill Vidler said «we call on the Australian government and public to do their utmost to help the UN organise the referendum in Western Sahara as soon as possible, in order to prevent further bloodshed in this region of the world» she added, «The people of Western Sahara deserve to be given a chance to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.».
The Association urges the Federal Government and the media to raise this issue with the UN Secretary General during his visit to Australia.
For further information and interviews, Please contact: Jill Vidler, AWSA's President: Mobile: 0416 130 111. Fax: 02. 9555 9403, E-mail: Vidler@ihug.com.au .
POLISARIO Representative: Kamal Fadel: 0416 335 197.
We would also like to announce that AWSA will be organising a fundraising concert in Sydney for the Western Sahara, on the 25th and 26th of February, at St. Andrews Church, Darling St. Balmain. Various artistic groups will take part.