Sahara issue will be settled once Algeria withdraws from the dossier, sahrawi tribesmen
Morocco-Algeria, Politics, 7/5/2000
Several Sahrawi shioukh (Tribe Chiefs) and local elected representatives said Tuesday that the Sahara issue will be settled once Algeria withdraws from the dossier.
The Sahrawis urged a visiting delegation of American staffers, led by Scott Palmer, to endeavor for lifting the blockade imposed by the Algerian-backed Polisario separatists against the Sahrawis in the camps of Tindouf (south-western Algeria).
They gave the US delegation their testimonies regarding the blatant human rights violations perpetrated by the Polisario against the Sahrawis, especially the elderly, women and children.
They presented cases of people whose bodies still bear scars of torture at the hands of the Polisario band in the desert camps of Tindouf.
The Polisario is on the list of the world's terrorist organizations, said Houcine Baida, head of the association of parents of Sahrawi citizens victims of terror in the camps.
The victims said they were ready to help unearth digs where Sahrawis were buried by the Polisario.
The speakers asked the US staffers to inform the Congress and the American public opinion of the real situation with a view to lifting the blockade imposed on the detainees of Tindouf.
They stressed that the Polisario and its supporters are the sole responsible for the obstacles hampering the referendum.
The vote seeks to determine whether the Sahara --a former Spanish colony retrieved by Morocco in 1975 under the tripartite Madrid Accord with Spain and Mauritania-- sets up on its own or remains part of Morocco.
The consultation is bogging down in difficulties created by the Polisario, which fearing Morocco's victory, seeks to shrink voters' rolls through denying the right of thousands of genuine Sahrawis to participate in the referendum.
The US staffers had conferred with Mohamed Loulichki, ambassador coordinator with the MINURSO (U.N. mission supervising the referendum process).
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