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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Western Sahara
Western Sahara Headlines
Monday, September 18th, 2006
: RCN Administrator
Tuesday, August 5th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Front Polisario Representative to Australia -- After 20 days of haggling over the precise phrasing and content of a
draft resolution on the Western Sahara, the UN Security Council
adopted resolution 1495 on July 31.
The significance of this resolution is that the UN Security Council
has for the first time officially moved away from implementing the
Settlement Plan, and has accepted a novel approach to the resolution
of the conflict of the Western Sahara. This new approach is known as
the ?¬Peace Plan for self-determination of the people of Western
Sahara?¬ and is proposed by James Baker, the Personal Envoy of the UN
Secretary General for Western Sahara.
The problem facing Baker?¬s plan is that one of the parties to the
conflict, Morocco, has vehemently rejected it. Hence, resolution
1495 was diluted from its draft form, which sought for the Security
Council to endorse the Plan. The Security Council has expressed its
support for the new plan but has called upon the parties ?¬to work
with the United Nations and with each other towards acceptance and
implementation of the Peace plan?¬.
Baker?¬s plan is not very different from an earlier version ?] the
?¬Draft Framework Agreement?¬ ?] presented to the Security Council,
which Morocco had accepted. Both plans envisage an autonomous status
for Western Sahara under Morocco?¬s sovereignty eventually followed
by a referendum of self-determination, which would allow Moroccan
settlers in Western Sahara to vote.
By rejecting Baker?¬s plan, the Moroccan regime has once again
clearly indicated to the UN and the international community its
unwillingness to cooperate in order to achieve a peaceful resolution
of the conflict in Western Sahara.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that the Moroccan
regime rejects or violates UN resolutions. For example, in 1975
Morocco rejected UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/380 (1975),
which stated that the Council ?¬deplores the holding of the (Green)
march?¬ and ?¬Calls upon Morocco immediately to withdraw from the
Territory of Western Sahara all the participants in the march?¬.
In recent years Morocco also rejected the Settlement Plan which the
Security Council approved in resolutions S/RES/ 690 and S/RES/725 of
1991, and in addition rejected the Houston Agreements which the
Council endorsed in its resolution S/RES/1133 (1997).
The Polisario independence movement, on the other hand, has
continuously shown flexibility and willingness to compromise.
Polisario?¬s acceptance of the Settlement Plan and the cease-fire was
a significant compromise from its earlier stance, which called for
Morocco?¬s unconditional withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.
There was also the compromise concerning the criteria of eligibility
of voters, which was biased towards Morocco. Polisario again showed
a great degree of flexibility during the negotiation process
involved in the Houston Agreements and the identification process of
Furthermore, Polisario?¬s recent willingness to examine Baker?¬s novel
plan, is a major shift from its position which originally rejected
an autonomy option during the transitional period prior to the
organisation of the referendum of self-determination.
It has become crystal clear that Morocco will not adhere to a
solution until it is confident that it will be in its favour. Two
main elements have encouraged Morocco to obstruct the peace process:
the lack of any concrete and significant pressure since the guns
were silenced in 1991, and the support of some members of the UN
Security Council, such as France.
It is well known that Morocco agreed to the Settlement Plan mainly
because of the pressure of the war. Nevertheless, should the
Moroccan regime now be subjected to real pressure it is likely that
this could tilt the pendulum towards a real solution. It is now the
time to exercise such pressure both from inside the Occupied
Territories and from outside.
The Saharawi people need to intensify the pressure within Western
Sahara to make the occupying power feel the heat, thereby making its
presence uncomfortable. This is a challenge because of the brutal
nature of the Moroccan police-state, but it is not impossible. Other
means of pressure from outside need to be considered, and there are
many options available that have worked in similar situations such
as economic sanctions and a campaign directed at the tourist
industry which the regime depends upon a great deal.
There is a need to illustrate the fact that the only beneficiaries
of the hard currency that tourists bring to Morocco are the Royal
family, its cronies and the corrupt Generals. It is also quite
likely that tourists?¬ money will be used to rearm the occupying
forces in Western Sahara and reinforce the security apparatus, which
is renowned for its human rights abuses. The campaign to end the
pillage of Saharawi natural resources should be accentuated not only
to preserve the resources of the Saharawi state but also to target
the vital interests of the Regime?¬s men.
It is also necessary to maintain the diplomatic campaign, and
further isolate the regime, which finds itself in a dreadful
situation, since it is opposed to all UN?¬s proposals for the
peaceful resolution of the conflict. The other element of pressure
which can not been ruled out is the return to war should the peace
The lessons that could be drawn from Morocco?¬s attitude towards UN
Resolutions and the way the UN has so far dealt with its
obstructions do not augur well for a just, speedy and lasting
resolution to the conflict in Western Sahara. Unfortunately, Morocco
has been able to get away with its illegal and brutal occupation of
our country and the UN has shown constant leniency for the regime?¬s
flagrant violations of its resolutions and international law.
For the UN to restore its credibility it must complete the
implementation of the only solution that is just and democratic and
benefits from the strong support of the Security Council: the
Settlement Plan, complemented by the Houston Agreements which both
parties had accepted in 1989 and 1997. This solution has gained
further impetus since Polisario?¬s compromise concerning the Appeals
However, Morocco is attempting to shift the debate from the
Saharawis?¬ right to self-determination to the so-called ?¬territorial
integrity?¬ and ?¬Morocco?¬s sovereignty?¬. It is important to emphasise
that no country or international organisation has ever recognised
Morocco?¬s sovereignty or its illegal occupation of Western Sahara.
The right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and
independence is inalienable and paramount. This means that it is not
negotiable and can not be overridden. The question of the Western
Sahara remains on the UN agenda as a decolonisation issue and it
will remain so until the Saharawi people exercise their right to
self-determination. Therefore, the Settlement Plan must not be
ignored or sidelined; it should remain on the UN agenda as the most
viable option for the resolution of the conflict, unless Morocco
decides to end its occupation and give up its illegitimate claims
over Western Sahara.
However, what is expected is that that the Moroccan regime will do
its utmost to maintain the status quo and at the same time enact its
old tricks during the forthcoming negotiations in order to obtain
even more favourable terms in Baker?¬s Plan. Those who benefit from
instability and disunity in the Maghreb will continue to encourage
the Moroccan regime in its obstructionist attitude. Sadly, it is the
Saharawi people that will continue to suffer because of
considerations that have more to do with Realpolitik than justice.
It is evident that the Saharawi side has done all that it could do
in order to facilitate the UN?¬s efforts to end the illegal
occupation of Western Sahara. Now it is the duty of the UN Security
Council to stress to Morocco that its tricks and crocodile tears can
be tolerated no longer.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Morocco, Politics -- Morocco supports a comprehensive political solution to the Sahara issue that preserves its territorial integrity and respects its sovereignty, said on Monday Moroccan communication minister and government spokesman, Nabil Benabdellah.
The official, who was speaking at a press conference in Paris, made it clear that Morocco will never give in an inch of its territory, recalling the kingdom’s quest of solutions based on a wide regionalization system.
He further renewed that the government will continue to defend a "comprehensive political settlement" and that any proposal challenging Morocco’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty cannot be accepted.
"We have sent envoys to several countries and we are reassured by messages received from several heads of state and of government, such US president George W. Bush, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Spanish premier, Jose Maria Aznar, who have showed a great deal of understanding to Morocco’s stance on the issue," he told a group of French journalists and foreign journalists accredited in France.
Thursday, June 12th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
Congressman Pitts, regarding the referendum -- (House of Representatives - June 12, 2003)
(Mr. PITTS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply concerned that the negotiations over the Western Sahara for the past decade have all been for nothing.
Former Moroccan Minister of Interior Driss Basri recently said, ``The Houston agreement did not come as a way to find a solution to the issue of Sahara . It came as a starting point of an American plan ..... and it will preserve the American interests,'' and as U.N. diplomat Marrack Goulding wrote, ``for enhanced autonomy for Western Sahara within the kingdom of Morocco.''
I find it deplorable and offensive that various officials of Morocco, the U.N., and the U.S. engaged in what amounted to a farce. They spent over $530 million and negotiated an agreement to hold a referendum for the people of Western Sahara without ever intending to hold that referendum.
Mr. Speaker, this is not a game. The people of Western Sahara agreed to a ceasefire on the basis that all parties would uphold the negotiated agreement of a free, fair, and transparent referendum for self-determination. The people of Western Sahara have no desire to suffer under the colonial rule of the kingdom of Morocco; and so the United States, the U.N., and Morocco should stop the game-playing and implement the referendum.
Friday, June 6th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
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The translation is rough, but if the Moroccans have won over the Germans, I hold out little hope for the Saharawis. Barbara
German mp: No settlement to Sahara issue outside Morocco's kingty
Morocco-Germany, Politics, 6/6/2003
"There can be no settlement to the Sahara issue out of Moroccan sovereignty," German Social Democratic Party (SPD) deputy and former state secretary of foreign affairs, Cristophe Zopel, said Thursday.
The deputy, who called for a political settlement to the issue, described the situation of people sequestered in the camps of Tindouf (southwestern Algeria) as "one of the most tragic in history."
Speaking at a meeting here with Moroccan women MPS, currently visiting Germany, the German official said this situation is "unacceptable and unjustifiable," and insisted it "must come to an end with the release of all those detained in the camps."
Lauding the ties between his party and Moroccan Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), Zopel said he will lead a delegation of his party to Morocco to enhance Moroccan-German and Arab-German ties.
Moroccan women parliamentary delegation visits Germany (6/3/2003)
King Mohammed sends message to German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (5/10/2003)
Moroccan speaker meets German state secretary (6/1/2002)
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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Morocco yesterday voiced hope that the United Nations Security Council will shoulder its responsibilities and allow the U.N. Secretary General and his Personal Envoy continue the political mediation work they had started part of the political agreement on the Sahara issue.
The statement was made Tuesday in a letter Mohamed Bennouna, Morocco’s permanent representative to the U.N., sent to the Security Council President.
Bennouna denounced "the violent and inappropriate" statements made by Algeria against Morocco in a letter the Algerian representative to the U.N. sent on July 22 to the Council.
It is unusual that Algeria, a country that presumes not to be a party (to the issue), says it was ready to study what it calls "the possible partition of the territory of the Sahara between the Sahrawi people and the Kingdom of Morocco," with a view to barring the way to the political solution under way, Bennouna said.
"In a certain way, Algeria wants to express itself on a partition to which it would not be a party," he added.
"After sending you on July 18 a letter exclusively defending the right to self-determination in the Sahara, Algeria sent you on July 22 another letter requesting the partition of the territory, in a blatant contradiction with self-determination," the Moroccan diplomat went on in his letter.
"It is very shocking that a country, which presumes not to be a party to a difference, asks you to avoid deciding on a political solution to this very difference, by proposing to you to adopt a technical resolution extending the mandate of the MINURSO (U.N. mission in the Sahara) until the end of the year," the ambassador said, underlining that by doing so "Algeria confirms its will to do its best to bloc the political solution to the Sahara issue."
Sunday, July 21st, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has sent to Irish Premier Bertie Ahern a message on developments of the Moroccan Sahara issue at the United nations and especially at the level of consultations at the Security Council.
The message was handed over to Irish foreign minister, Brian Cowen, on Thursday by Moroccan minister of human rights, Mohammed Aujjar, who arrived in Dublin earlier in the day.
Aujjar stressed that the international community should endeavor to put an end to the Sahara issue through the political solution proposed by the UN secretary general
and that is to be discussed by the Security Council in the coming days.
Aujjar renewed to the Irish foreign minister Morocco’s readiness to fully cooperate for a settlement of the issue in the frame of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Irish foreign minister said the Sahara issue has lasted for too long and that his country appreciates Morocco’s availability, expressing hope that the issue would be settled quickly.
Touching on the situation of Moroccans detained by the polisario on Algerian soil, Cowen said his country deems it necessary to release all Moroccan detainees immediately and unconditionally, expressing hope that the Security Council would act accordingly.
Aujjar had earlier visited Oslo where he handed Norwegian prime minister, Magne Kjell Bondevik, a message from King Mohammed VI, dealing with the developments of the Sahara issue, mainly as regards the role of the UN Security Council in promoting the political settlement proposed by the UN secretary general and his personal envoy, James Baker.
Monday, July 1st, 2002
: RCN Administrator
"Out of the seven regions of the world, Arab countries had the lowest freedom score in the late 1990s," according to the first Arab Human Development Report.
"The Arab region has the lowest value of all regions of the world for voice of accountability," particularly in regard to political processes, civil liberties, political rights and media independence.
The world’s seven regions are Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Oceania, North America and Arab states.
Arab scholars spent 18 months writing and researching the report, which was commissioned by the U.N. Development Program. It is the first to focus on a specific region and similar reports on other regions are expected to follow.
The Arab report’s findings were discussed at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday. Arab League chief Amr Moussa said the report showed that Arab nations should double efforts to develop the region.
"The crisis is real and very serious," he said. "The road is still long."
The report project was headed by former deputy Jordanian prime minister Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, the United Nations’ current assistant secretary and director of the Bureau of Arab States.
"What we have is not a blueprint of an action plan, but a comprehensive analysis of problems in the Arab world and a united vision for the way forward," Hunaidi told The Associated Press.
The report found that about 50 percent of Arab women were illiterate, while only 3.5 percent of all parliamentary seats in Arab states were filled by women. Arab women also suffered from unequal citizenship and legal entitlements.
"Sadly, the Arab world is largely depriving itself of the creativity and productivity of half of its citizens," the report said.
In terms of scientific development, the Arab region spent less than 0.5 percent of its gross domestic product on scientific expenditure, compared to 1.26 percent in Cuba and 2.9 percent in Japan.
But on a positive note, the report said the "Arab region has dramatically reduced poverty and inequality in the 20th century. It can do so again in 21st."
The report’s editor, Egyptian economist Nader Fergany, said they studied a range of elements about Arab society, from its lack of freedoms to problems from a growing population, expected to hit at least 400 million within 20 years.
The report covers 22 Arab countries inhabited by about 280 million people. It found that 65 million adults are illiterate, 10 million children do not attend school and the unemployment rate is at 15 percent, the world’s highest.
The report also touched on the Mideast crisis, saying Israel’s occupation of Arab lands is "one of the most pervasive obstacles to security and progress in the region."
Hunaidi said the report’s aim was not to frustrate Arabs but ignite their determination for change.
"The report is not the end of the road, but a beginning of a deep dialogue," she said.
Friday, January 18th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
US EXPLORER Kerr-McGee and French supermajor Total-FinaElf will know by mid-February whether UN Secretary General Kofi Annan regards two echnical reconnaissance agreements signed last year with Rabat for acreage off Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara as contravening international law.
Rebel Polisario militia fighting for the independence of former Spanish colony expect Annan’s office to present a full report to the Security Council debunking Rabat’s right to licence this acreage.
The Western Sahara is recognized as the independent Sahrawi Arab democratic Republic by 70 countries and has repeatedly rejected a UN-brokered peace plan to restore civilian government. Polisario agents have warned of a resumption of the armed struggle if exploration and production activity proceeds.
"We sent a message to President George Bush on behalf of our President,Mohammed Abdulaziz, condemning the awards and also wrote directly to UN envoy James Baker warning of the consequences of inaction," said the Polisario’s representative to the US, Mouloud Said.
Late last year Rabat allocated TotalFinaElf the entire southern maritime zone south of Kerr-McGee’s own Boujdour Offshore permit, which runs right up to the Moroccan border.
c) 2002, Upstream.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
The United Nations Security council held on Tuesday a meeting behind-closed-doors to examine the latest interim-report of UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, on the situation in the Sahara.
The council chairman, Jagdish Koonjul, told reporters the Council members had "a useful exchange of views," after Hadi Annabi, a top official at the UN peace-keeping department made a presentation on the interim-report published on Friday.
In the report, the UN Secretary general said he counts on Morocco, the Polisario, Algeria and Mauritania "to continue their cooperation with his special envoy in the efforts he is making to reach a rapid, lasting and concerted settlement" to the issue.
After he described as "encouraging" the recent liberation of Moroccan prisoners of war and other detainees, Annan said the continued detention of 1,300 others poses a "grave humanitarian problem" and renewed his call for the release of all prisoners without delay.
Annan also said he is worried over the fate of those sequestered in Tindouf (Polisario camps, located in southwestern Algeria) and invited the international community to contribute to meet the humanitarian needs of this population until they are allowed to return voluntarily and lastingly to their territory.