Open Letter to UN Security Council: The Status Quo in Western Sahara is Unacceptable

Huffington Post, Blog, 21 July 2016

The Western Sahara Civil Society, a coalition of civil society groups from Western Sahara and international supporters, has written a strongly worded open letter to the President of the UN Security Council calling on the Council to place on record the Western Sahara Civil Society’s strong belief that the status quo in Western Sahara is unacceptable…and stating that immediate action to resolve the conflict must be pursued (cont.)

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Polisario elects its new leader, Brahim Ghali

ALGIERS, July 9 (Reuters) – Western Sahara’s Polisario independence movement has elected a former ambassador to Algeria, Brahim Ghali, as its new leader after the death of its chief, Mohammed Abdelaziz, who led the front through a war with Morocco and years of diplomatic struggle for self-determination.
Abdelaziz died in May aged 68 after more than three decades as leader of the Sahrawi Polisario Front and president of its self-declared Sahrawi Republic, with its base in southern Algeria since a ceasefire in 1991.

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A wave of divestments over illegal resource exploitation in Western Sahara

Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW), 27 June 2016

In recent months, several investment firms have relinquished their interests in companies that are involved in the natural resource exploitation of occupied Western Sahara.
Ever more investors are leaving the small handful of the companies that take part in the exploration, exploitation and purchase of non-renewable resources. Details of 21 such companies are provided in this article.

WSRW article >>

World’s largest wealth fund drops Cairn and Kosmos over Western Sahara

tn_cairn_609Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW)  28 June 2016

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has announced it has excluded Kosmos Energy and Cairn Energy from its portfolios because of their oil search in Western Sahara. Approx. 54 million dollars of shares were sold.
“The Council recommends the exclusion (of Cairn and Kosmos)… due to an unacceptable risk of the companies contributing to serious violations of fundamental ethical norms through their hydrocarbon exploration offshore Western Sahara,” the council said.

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OBITUARY: Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the Saharawi Republic 1948-2016

OBITUARY
Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the Saharawi Republic 1948-2016
Australian Western Sahara Association (AWSA), June 2016

With the death on 31 May 2016 of Mohamed Abdelaziz, Saharawi president, the people of Western Sahara have lost a major figure in their recent history.

He was one of the founders of their independence movement, the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro) in 1973, fighting first against the Spanish coloniser, then in 1975 battling the Moroccan invader. He has been at its helm since the inaugural Polisario leader, El Ouali Mustapha Sayed, died in action in 1976. (cont.)
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Friends of Western Sahara have been saddened to hear of the death of Polisario President Mohamed Abdelaziz

Mohamed Abdelaziz helped establish the Polisario Front in 1976

Mohamed Abdelaziz helped establish the Polisario Front in 1976

Following a long illness President Mohamed Abdelaziz died on 31 May 2016.
A period of 40 days’ mourning has been announced, at the end of which a new president will be elected by an extraordinary general meeting of the Polisario Front. In the meanwhile, the speaker of the Saharawi National Council (Parliament), Khatri Addouh, will act as interim leader of the Polisario Front.
This is the end of an era and could be a turning point, but for now we simply assess the enormous contribution made by Mohamed Abdelaziz in the course of the past 40 years. As a young man….(cont.)
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Morocco Steps Up Diplomatic Pressure On US And Europe Over Western Sahara Occupation

Moroccan protesters in the capital Rabat, on March 13, 2016, during a demonstration against statements made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Photo: FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Moroccan protesters in the capital Rabat, on March 13, 2016, during a demonstration against statements made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Photo: FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Dominic Dudley, Forbes Business, Foreign Affairs

19 May 2016

On May 18, the Moroccan government summoned the US ambassador in Rabat, Dwight Bush, for a dressing-down over the State Department’s most recent human rights report on the country, as it wages diplomatic battles on several fronts over its occupation of Western Sahara.

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Western Sahara: The Forgotten Conflict at Risk of Re-escalation

A Sahrawi woman holds a Polisario Front flag during a ceremony to mark 40 years since it proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Photo by Getty Images.

A Sahrawi woman holds a Polisario Front flag during a ceremony to mark 40 years since it proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Photo by Getty Images.

Dr Claire Spencer, Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, 16 May 2016

The Western Sahara conflict has eluded resolution for so long that the principles underlying United Nations-led efforts to seek an enduring outcome have become muddied almost to the point of cancelling each other out. Forty-one years since its inception, diplomatic language rather than arms has become the medium for the continuation of the dispute. The annual highlight is the renewal of the UN Security Council’s peacekeeping and monitoring mission …(cont.)
Chatham House article >>

Ban Ki-Moon Has Sparked a Diplomatic Crisis in Western Sahara

Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy, 15 April 2016
BY TOM O’BRYAN

Ban Ki-Moon has sparked a diplomatic crisis in Western Sahara… but a crisis may be just what’s needed after decades of deadlock. Ban Ki-Moon’s criticism of Morocco’s 40-year “occupation” of Western Sahara during his visit to the territory on March 8, 2016 has sparked the most serious crisis in the region in decades. Morocco denounced the Secretary General’s “biased” rhetoric, and“irreversibly” expelled U.N. peacekeepers stationed in Western Sahara. .(cont.)

Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy article >>

Western Sahara’s moment in the sun: How the UN chief waded into a forgotten conflict with no end in sight

Annie Slemrod, Middle East Editor, IRIN
JERUSALEM, 14 April 2016

“Of all of the world’s forgotten conflicts…that of Western Sahara, with its refugees tucked away in a remote desert, ranks as one of the most consigned to oblivion. But last month, the world’s top diplomat, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, brought the issue to temporary attention with a rather undiplomatic move. After visiting part of the disputed territory, which is claimed by both Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, he called Morocco’s presence there an “occupation.”…(cont.)

IRIN article >>