BRUSSELS – Algerian ambassador to Brussels, Amar Belani, has denounced Friday "yet another falsehood of Morocco," describing the screening at the European Parliament of a documentary that compares between the Sahrawi liberation movement, the Polisario Front, and the terrorist organizations activating in the Sahel region as a "rude operation of disinformation."
"This is yet another falsehood of Morocco to the European parliament. In fact, this is a rude operation of disinformation, designed and applied by the local relays of the Special Services,” he told APS.
According to Belani, "this scheming has been so rude that all the invited MEPs, including the one who was to be the main sponsor, have preferred to abstain from participating, fearing discredit due to a harmful operation of manipulation."
Last Wednesday, a Moroccan-born Belgian Euro deputy from the Reformist Movement (MR), Latifa Ait Baâla organized at the European Parliament the projection of a documentary entitled, "Sahara et Sahel Connexions - trafic, drogue, terrorisme"( Connections Sahara and Sahel - trafficking, drugs, terrorism), directed by Moroccan Hassan al-Bouharrouti, expert in propaganda documentaries and supporter of the Moroccan colonialist theories.
This "documentary" which main actors are Euro deputy Aymeric Chauprade, expelled from the French far-right party, le Front national (the National Front), for xenophobia, and the director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Abdelhak El-Khiame, tries to discredit the Polisario Front, classified by the UN as a national liberation movement, presenting it as a terrorist group like AQMI and MUJAO.
The mobilization of many European parliamentarians against the projection of this documentary discouraged the event sponsor, Belgian MEP and former European Commissioner Louis Michel to be present.
MEP Louis Michel had the same attitude during the screening, in April 2016, of another propaganda documentary entitled Western Sahara - source and resources, by the same Moroccan director Hassan al-Bouharrouti.
Seized by the Euro deputies, EP president Antonio Tajani insisted that "even if such events are organized in the headquarters of the Parliament, they do not represent the EP official stance which is expressed through its plenary resolutions or via its official bodies."
"So, the organizers at the Moroccan chancellery were forced to appeal their man, who is the + NostAlgerique + at the Parliament and the representative of a political hateful current, to serve as ‘a master of ceremony’ of this ridiculous farce," added Belani.
Indeed, out of the 751 deputies in the European parliament, only Aymeric Chauprade attended the screening of the "documentary."
The organizers also had to introduce some change to the "documentary film" presentation poster, removing the reference to the Polisario Front, which was included on the original poster alongside terrorist organizations.
The film ignored the fact that Morocco remains one of the world’s largest drug suppliers in the part on drug trafficking from Latin America. Speaking about the connections between crime and drug trafficking, the documentary has voluntarily neglected, the Algerian ambassador to Brussels recalled that the recently published Frontex report 2016 entitled "Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community Joint Report" "blames Morocco in its section on the cross-border crime."
Citing the Frontex report, Belani said that Morocco has become a "hub for cannabis trafficking to Europe and local markets," noting that the report stresses that "drug trafficking is the most profitable activity for criminal groups operating in northern Morocco, and that cannabis resin traffic, as a low-risk and high profit activity, remains more attractive than migrant trafficking. "
HAVANA (Cuba)- Cuba, which accepted to restore without conditions, its diplomatic relations with Morocco continues to bring its support to the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination said Cuban newspaper Granma.
Cuban authorities, who accepted “Morocco’s approach to restore diplomatic relations without conditions,” maintain their supportive and invariable positions towards Western Sahara’s self-determination, and will continue to support the training of hundreds of young Sahrawis in their schools and support Sahrawis in the sectors of health and education,” underlined Granma.
Cuba accepted to restore its diplomatic relations with Morocco “without forgetting history,” wrote the daily, thus putting an end to 37 years of rupture decreed unilaterally on 22 April 1980 by the government of Morocco following the recognition, by revolutionary government of Cuba, of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and the approval given to the first Sahrawi ambassador to Havana.
Going from what has been agreed upon, rules are set for “the friendly and civilized existence” of the future Moroccan embassy and the SADR embassy in Havana, as it is the case today within the African Union, in other African countries and in the world.
NEW YORK-The UN Security Council will adopt on Thursday the draft resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum on Self-Determination in Western Sahara (Minurso) by one year following intense negotiations on this text submitted by the U.S delegation.
Discussions on this draft resolution remain hard some hours before its adoption. The third and last draft can be modified.
The proposal "of immediate and unconditional" withdrawal of Polisario Front forces from Al Guergarat was not unanimously welcomed within the Security Council. The third draft resolution, of which APS has a copy, suggests that the UN Secretary General briefs the Security Council on this withdrawal in 15 days.
The text is unbalanced and does not explain the causes behind the crisis in this area monitored by the UN, said many Security Council members.
MADRID (Spain)- Parliament of Galicia, Spain's northwest, reiterated Tuesday its commitment to the Saharawi cause through an official statement presented by its speaker, Miguel Angel Santalices.
In the motion of support, the Parliament of Galicia expresses its intention to join the movement of solidarity with Western Sahara, which has been demanding, for many years, a fair, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, through a referendum of self-determination putting an end to Western Sahara conflict.
The Parliament of the autonomous community of Galicia mentioned, in the motion, the latest decision of the European Court of Justice which clearly underlined that Western Sahara territory is not part of Morocco.
It explains that Rabat has no sovereignty on the Saharawi territory and the trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco is not applicable to Western Sahara.
Galicia Parliament's speaker voiced concerns about the exploitation of Western Sahara's natural resources by European companies without the consent of the Saharawi people, dubbing it illegal.
He called on European, Spanish and Galician companies to abide by the international and European laws and stop all activities that are likely to favour the perpetuation of Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
NEW YORK-The Security Council, which met Tuesday to examine the US draft resolution on Western Sahara, has not reached consensus as first discussions revealed great divergences between the members.
The draft resolution aiming to boost negotiations between the Polisario Front and Morocco has been submitted in a first step to the group of friends of Western Sahara at the Security Council. The proposals mentioned in the draft resolution did not reach consensus among members, particularly the proposal to immediately withdraw the Polisario Front from Al Guergarat zone.
In the face of many members' refusal to pass a biased resolution, the US delegation at the UN Security Council has submitted this draft resolution to the rest of the UN Security Council members but negotiations remain tight before its adoption on Thursday.
Russia called the text unbalanced while Uruguay said it did not refer to the cause of Al Guergarat crisis, namely the violation by Morocco of the ceasefire agreement in this area monitored by the Minurso.
"Morocco and France requested Polisario Front's immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Al Guergarat area," Representative of the Polisario Front at the UN Ahmed Boukhari told APS.
As regards Al Guergarat, "the draft resolution had to tackle the cause and consequences of the crisis," said Boukhari.
"The violation of the ceasefire provisions was the cause of the crisis and jeopardizes the peace process in Western Sahara," he stated.
The Polisario Front suggests to the UN dispatching a technical committee to report on the ground the ceasefire violation but France and Morocco opposed to this proposal and tried to involve the Security Council in the legitimation of Rabat's actions.
Boukhari said the Polisario Front "will wait until the end of discussions on the draft resolution to publicly express its position on the whole peace process, including the situation in Western Sahara."
LONDON- The non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International called, Tuesday, the United Nation to “urgently” monitor human rights in Western Sahara in order to put an end to the” violations and impunity” of which the Sahrawi people is victim under the Moroccan occupation.
The NGO considers “urgent to prioritize human rights monitoring and to include in the Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), exhorting the Security Council to take it into account, in the vote next week, on April 27, to renew the mandate of its presence in the territories occupied by Morocco.
It noted, in the communiqué, that “enabling the MINURSO to monitor Human Rights in Western Sahara is crucial for ensuring that abuses committed far from the public eye are brought to the world’s attention, holding those responsible to account and improving respect for human rights.”
“The UN mission in Western Sahara is the world’s only modern peacekeeping operation without a human rights component. It’s been over a quarter of a century since it was established and it is high time to upgrade its status to enable it to report on such violations.”
Amnesty underlined that it has continued to document, over the past year, the human rights violations and “in particular arbitrary restrictions on peaceful protesters and activists supporting self-determination for Western Sahara.”
The statement also noted the violations of the rights of Sahrawis detained in Morocco, and “breaches to their right to a fair trial and to the prohibition on torture or other ill-treatment.”
In this regard, the organization also “follows the new civilian trial of 24 Sahrawis, including human rights and political activists, who had previously been sentenced to heavy prison terms following a grossly unfair military trial.”
The NGO regrets that the “MINURSO’s capacity was reduced last year after the Moroccan authorities expelled a number of its civilian personnel, including demining staff from the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), in March 2016.”
“Instead of hampering MINURSO’s work, the Moroccan authorities should be fully cooperating with the mission to ensure they are able to carry out their duties at full capacity,” concluded the communiqué.
PARIS – About thirty Sahrawis and French activists supporting the Sahrawi cause participated in a rally at Les Invalides in Paris on Tuesday afternoon to demand the immediate and unconditioned release of the Sahrawi political prisoners held in Morocco.
The rally, staged 100m from the headquarters of the French ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been initiated by the Association of Sahrawi Community in France (ACSF), the Association of Sahrawis in France (ASF), the League of Sahrawi Students in France and the Platform for Solidarity with the People of Western Sahara.
The protesters chanted "One Solution, Stop Occupation" and "Morocco Killer, France Accomplice" and claimed the immediate and unconditioned release of Sahrawi political prisoners and halt to suppression in the occupied Sahrawi territories.
They also called for the urgent holding of a referendum on self-determination, to allow the Sahrawi people decide freely their future, and the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to human rights monitoring in the occupied Sahrawi territories, as well as the enforcement of the ruling of the European Union Court of Justice of 21 December 2016.
MADRID-The Spanish coordination of friendly associations with Western Sahara (Ceas-Sahara) has just launched a campaign entitled"for Minurso's ability to monitor human rights."
In a communiqué released on its website, Ceas-Sahara said that by the end of April, the United Nations Security Council will discuss the renewal of the Minurso mandate (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara-MINURSO), highlighting that this special UN mission is the only one that is not entitled to monitor human rights although everyone are aware of the abuses and violations committed by the Moroccan authorities against the Sahrawi population in the occupied areas of Western Sahara.
Therefore, the Ceas-Sahara has launched this campaign to change this reality at the next vote of the Security Council, calling the international movement for solidarity with Western Sahara, and particularly the Spanish movement to back this campaign and promote it on social networks and through direct contacts.
The communiqué also recommended to all signatories in solidarity with this cause to send a personal letter to each of the member countries of the Security Council with a view to further hasten their awareness to integrate Minurso's human right competence in the resolution to renew its mandate.
BIR LAHLOU- The Sahrawi President Brahim Ghali called Monday, the new Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to intervene to guarantee the security and integrity of Sahrawi civilians victims of Moroccan repression because of their claim for their people’s legitimate right to self-determination and independence.
“We urge you, Mister Secretary General, to urgently intervene for the United Nations to fully assume the responsibility to ensure the security of Sahrawi citizens by allowing them to quickly exercise their legitimate right to self-determination and independence just like all the colonial peoples and countries, in implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Charter,” wrote the president of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in his letter addressed to Guterres, following the violent Moroccan repressions in the occupied cities of Western Sahara.
“The UN cannot remain indifferent to the ongoing provocations led by the illegal occupation of the Moroccan State in violation of international law, the Sahrawi human rights through the plundering of Western Sahara’s natural resources, the expulsion of the MINURSO civilian component, the violation of the ceasefire agreement” signed in 1991 between the Polisario Front and Morocco under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization of the African Unity,” said President Ghali cited by the Sahrawi press agency, SPS.
“Through the region’s expansionist and provocative policy, including drug trafficking and its role in the promotion and support of criminal gangs and terrorist groups, Morocco threatens the peace, security and stability of the whole region,” said the Sahrawi president, also secretary general of the Polisario Front.
Brahim Ghali also called for the immediate and unconditional release of the all the Sahrawi political prisoners, and those of the Gdeim Izik group, and to shed light on the fate of more than 651 missing Sahrawis since the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
MOSCOW- Members of Russian political parties and of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) underlined the need for allowing the Sahrawi people to fight for their freedom, exercising their right to self-determination, said Monday in Moscow Polisario Front representative in Russia.
During a meeting in Moscow, in solidarity with the peoples which are struggling for their legitimate rights, "the participants expressed their support to the Sahrawi people who are waging a legitimate fight for freedom and independence," Ali Salem Mohamed Fadhel told APS.
Held by Tatiana Desyatova, member of the central committee of the Russian communist party and one of the leaders of the Russian Women Union, the meeting was attended by the activists in the Party and delegates from several countries like Yemen, Palestine, Western Sahara, Syria and Lebanon.
The Sahrawi and Palestinian causes have been discussed by the participants, who expressed solidarity with the legitimate fight of those peoples for their freedom.
WASHINGTON (United States)- US Western Sahara Foundation urged President Donald Trump to take action to end the illegal occupation of Western Sahara, stressing that King of Morocco Mohamed VI undermines the UN-sponsored self-determination process.
In a letter to US president on the eve of a meeting to be held Sunday with Morocco's King, Suzanne Sholte, the NGO's chairwoman, called on the American administration to launch a strong signal to the international community for the settlement of Western Sahara issue, putting an end to occupation.
Describing the US Western Sahara Foundation as "an NGO representing many concerned American citizens," Sholte asked President Trump "to urge the King of Morocco, at a meeting this (Sunday) Easter, to put an end to the illegal and brutal occupation of Western Sahara."
The head of the US foundation added that at the very least, the King must stop undermining the referendum on self-determination pledged by the US a long time ago.
Morocco must stop terrorizing and ill-treating Western Sahara people in the occupied territories, the human rights activist stressed.
LONDON (U.K)- The Moroccan occupation forces continue to violate children’s rights in Western Sahara every day, and in countless ways, said the UK-based organization for the defence of Sahrawi people’s rights Adala UK.
The Non-governmental Organization said, in a communiqué that “none of the children who find themselves in the vicinity of the regular peaceful demonstrations that take place in the occupied territories” to demand Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination “is ever too young to be safe from the Moroccan police.”
It holds up in example several cases, including that of Alkanti Alalaoui a twelve-year old boy, deaf and with a learning disability, who was was arrested by the Moroccan forces on 29 March whilst he was sitting at the door of his house.
Alkanti was savagely beaten and injured to his face and other parts of his body before being forced into a car belonging to the Moroccan forces, taking him to an unknown location.
His neighbors protested in solidarity with him. The police asked the boy’s family “to break up the protestors” as well as “not to make a formal complaint about the attack against the boy.”
The police finally released the boy who was in a critical state and clearly very disturbed.”
Alkanti’s mother made a formal complaint after all “about the police agents who had beaten and abducted Alkanti although these kinds of complaints are never investigated,” noted the Adala UK.
“The arrest, transfer and interrogation of children without the presence of their parents is a clear violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Morocco is a signatory,” said the NGO in its communiqué.
Adala Uk called on “the UN and the international community to send observers to the occupied territories of Western Sahara to help guarantee the human rights of the Sahrawi people.”
It also urged the Moroccan government to put an end its policy of impunity for violations committed by its own forces against Sahrawi citizens, and particularly against children.
BRUSSELS (Belgium)- The participants in the task-force of the European Coordination Conference of support and solidarity with the Sahrawi people (EUCOCO) made Thursday, a call to the members of the United Nations Security Council, urging it to set “without delay” a date for the organization of a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara.
In an appeal made by its president Pierre Galand, the participants in the EUCOCO task force asked the members of the UN Security Council to “set a date without delay for the self-determination referendum of the Sahrawi people.”
In anticipation of the UN Security Council, which should vote on 27 April on the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Refrendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), the participants urged the members of the Council to “work for the return of the whole civilian component of the MINURSO.”
They also urged the members of the Security Council to “extend the MINURSO mandate to the protection of Sahrawi human rights” and to send “as of this year,” to Western Sahara, a joint mission with the Geneva Human Rights Council.
LONDON- The British non-governmental organization Western Sahara Campaign (WSC) on Thursday has expressed its solidarity with the Sahrawi political prisoners of Gdeim Izik and called for their immediate release.
WSC said, in a statement, that the Moroccan trial of the 24 Sahrawi political prisoners was illegal, therefore, they should be "released immediately."
The WSC statement follows the presentation of the report of the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, last Monday on Western Sahara to the members of the Security Council.
The NGO said that the trial was on the events that occurred in Gdeim Izik, in Western Sahara, a self-governing territory illegally occupied by Morocco.
"As long as the status of Western Sahara has not been defined by a free and fair referendum on self-determination, there could be no legal basis for a trial involving Sahrawis," said WSC.
Pending a referendum on self-determination "all Sahrawi political prisoners in Morocco must be released immediately," stressed the British NGO, which is a member of the Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW).
The NGO also urged the international community to exert pressure on Morocco for the respect of human rights in the occupied Western Sahara territories and for the release of Gdeim Izik political prisoners.
COPENHAGEN (Denmark)- The Danish minister of foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen said that his country continues to support the efforts of the United Nations for a political solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, which is occupied by Morocco.
“The Best way for Denmark to contribute to a solution is to continue supporting the efforts of the United Nations to reach a political solution to the conflict in Western Sahara,” said the Danish minister in front of the parliament, answering many questions relating to the Sahrawi issue.
Concerning the trial of the 24 political prisoners of Gdeim Izik which took place last March before the court of appeal of the city of Salé (Morocco), Samuelsen said that “the Danish government is aware of the case and we are following it through the European Union delegation in Morocco, which attended the trial.”
“The Danish government reckons that civilian must be tried before civil courts he added, underlining that Denmark asks Rabat authorities questions concerning human rights.
Speaking about the session of the Crans Montana Forum in the occupied city of Dakhla last March, Samuelsen told the parliamentarians “we are aware of the forum’s holding in Dakhla and neither I nor any other member of the Danish government participated in this session.”
NEW YORK-In 2016, Morocco has prevented UN human rights monitoring missions from visiting occupied territories in Western Sahara, said the UN Tuesday, expressing concern about torture and degrading inhuman treatment inflicted to the Sahrawi people.
In its preliminary report on Western Sahara, of which a copy was released Tuesday by the US press in New York, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that during the period covered by the aforementioned report, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) could not dispatch a monitoring mission in the Sahrawi territories.
In 2016, the Moroccan government opposed to the visit of a follow-up mission of the UN Special rapporteur on torture under the pretext that it was cancelled after it was scheduled for April 2015.
The last OHCHR mission in Dakhla and Laayoune dates back to April 2015.
Until 27 February 2017, Moroccan territories have not set up prevention mechanisms allowing the inspection of detention places as provided by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, stated the report which will be soon negotiated at the Security Council.
The Sahrawi people continue to be discriminated in the exercise of their economic, cultural and social rights, noted Guterres, recalling that the observations made by the UN human rights committee on the failure of the UN to take the necessary measures allowing the consultation of the Sahrawi on the exploitation of their natural resources.
Besides, the UN SG stated that "making the role of the Minurso (UN Mission for the Organization of the Referendum in Western Sahara) more performant," including "independent reporting" of the situation in Sahrawi territories, "remains crucial to meet the expectations of the UN Security Council."
Besides, the UN SG said the mission should resume its full role with the return of 17 UN employees expelled by Morocco, which so far have not been able to join their posts in the occupied territories.
Guterres called on the Security Council to extend the Minurso mandate until April 2018 and strengthen it with a medical staff from Bangladesh.
ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia)- The Polisario Front is the only legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people recognized by the United Nations said the legal advisor of secretariat of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
This statement comes following the Moroccan allegations on Western Sahara’s participation in the UN-ECA joint meeting.
“Western Sahara is a non-autonomous territory and member of the Economic Commission for Africa. The Polisario Front is the only legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people recognized by the United Nations, in conformity with the decision of the General Assembly 37/34 promulgated in 1979,” he underlined.
Morocco’s vain attempts and its opposition to the participation of a delegation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in the meeting under the pretext of not being a member of the United Nations thwarted, in March, the inter-ministerial meeting between the African Union Commission and the Economic Commission for Africa, which was postponed.
ALGIERS – High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini said Sunday in Algiers the EU position regarding Western Sahara issue has not changed and "strongly supports" the UN efforts to achieve a political just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution which guarantees self-determination to the Sahrawi people.
"Our position like or policy concerning Western Sahara remains a position of strong support to the efforts of the UN General Secretary in order to achieving a political just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution which guarantees self-determination to the Sahrawi people, under the UN Resolutions," Mogherini told a news conference jointly held with State Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ramtane Lamamra.
Asked whether Brussels would apply the European Court of Justice Ruling on 21 December 2016, which excluded Western Sahara territories from the Association Agreement and Free Trade Agreement between Morocco and the bloc, Mogherini said that "the EU was in the phase of the technical exploration of the Agreement and the essence of its position doesn’t change concerning Western Sahara question.”
The EU Foreign Policy Chief announced the EU willingness to work with the future envoy of the UN secretary general for Western Sahara.
Federica Mogherini started, Saturday, an official two-day visit to Algeria.
BRUSSELS – The illegal exploitation of Western Sahara natural resources continues to arouse the indignation of the European deputies who put pressure on the Commission to take the necessary measures to comply the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Last December the Court issued a ruling that the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Morocco are not applicable in Western Sahara.
In a written question sent to the European Commission, Deputy Maria Arena seized the Commission about the measures to differentiate the Moroccan products manufactured in occupied Western Sahara and imported from Morocco during the transition period, before the modification of the Agreement, under the ECJ decision.
She also demanded a timetable on the implementation of the ECJ decision, issued on 21 December 2016.
Member Norbert Neuser invited the Commission to detail the measures planned to stop in the future the de factor application of the EU-Morocco Agreement on the agricultural produces and fisheries from Western Sahara.
Last 21 December 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a decision after several months of legal battle that the Agreement of the Association in force in 2000 and the Free Trade Agreement of 2012 between the EU and Morocco are not applicable in Western Sahara, since this territory can cot be part of the Kingdom of Morocco.
NEW YORK (U.S.A)- The Security Council will extend, on 27 April, the MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) mandate, an adoption that will be preceded, on Friday, by the presentation of the UN Secretary General’s report on Western Sahara said Monday, the United Nations body.
The Security Council also scheduled two other consultation meetings on the MINURSO on 19 and 25 April, according to the programme presented Monday, by the United States, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency in April.
Nikki Halley, U.S. ambassador to the UN said, in a press conference that the Security Council programme in April will focus on the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations and the role of human rights in maintaining international peace and security.
In February, the department of peacekeeping operations expressed its concern regarding the blockade of the Minurso, which in charge or organizing a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, worrying about the fate of its staff expelled by Morocco.
In her press briefing, the American ambassador said that she broached, with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the need to move towards a reform of peacekeeping operations.