Independence of Western Sahara is an inalienable right

This week’s working visit to South Africa by President Brahim Ghali of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is significant as it comes at a critical time when we marked the 40th anniversary of the proclamation of the SADR, founded in 1976, and the continuing illegal occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco. South Africa has maintained a principled position on the right to self-determination for the Saharawi people as enshrined in the United Nations (UN) Charter and the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act. We have also intensified our solidarity with the Polisario Front liberation movement, as they lead the people of Western Sahara in their quest for peace and independence.

By MAITE NKOANA-MASHABANE, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

President Ghali’s upcoming visit strongly signals South Africa’s unwavering commitment towards the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people. The visit also aims to further strengthen and consolidate relations between our two countries.

In September 2004, South Africa took a decision to recognise the SADR when it became clear that Morocco had ruled out any possibility for a referendum for Western Sahara in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1495 of 2003.

Diplomatic ties between our two countries have been cemented with the SADR having a residential embassy in Pretoria, whilst our Ambassador to Algeria is accredited to the SADR. Political and development assistance are rendered to the SADR through the African Renaissance Fund (ARF). Furthermore, areas of cooperation between our two countries exist in the field of diplomatic consultations, arts and culture, youth sports development, as well as humanitarian relief and landmine removal.

The prolonged suffering of the people of Western Sahara and the lack of progress in finding a durable solution to the struggle for self-determination in the territory on the basis of international legality remains a major concern for the South African Government.
The Western Sahara has been on the decolonisation agenda of the UN and AU for more than fifty years. In 1963, Western Sahara was included on the list of non-self-governing territories under Article 73 of the UN Charter to which the UN General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960 on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, applies.

The Polisario Front liberation movement continued its struggle to end all foreign occupation of its country and in 1976 formed a government-in-exile and declared the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. In November 1984, the Polisario Front’s SADR was recognised by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), which led to the withdrawal of Morocco from the OAU in protest. In May 1991, the Polisario Front and Morocco ended many years of fighting following an UN-sponsored peace settlement.

The final status of the state of Western Sahara will only be settled when a UN-supervised referendum is held in which the country’s inhabitants must exercise their legitimate right to self-determination.

South Africa remains confident that a date for holding of a referendum on the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, will be realised. We therefore support the call made by the African Union (AU) for the UN General Assembly to determine a date for the holding of the referendum in accordance with the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion of 16 October 1975.

The AU is appealing for an enhanced and coordinated international action towards the organisation of a referendum for self-determination, in compliance with the OAU/AU decisions and UN resolutions and to bring the project of decolonisation to its final conclusion.

In this regard, South Africa will continue to support the work of the AU Special Envoy for Western Sahara, former President Joaquim Chissano, who has met with the UN Security Council and other high-level representatives in the last year to discuss a just and durable solution that will provide for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Africa has a moral and political responsibility to contribute to the solution to conflicts in the continent and must play a leading role and guidance for international efforts regarding the conflict in Africa.

The decrease in humanitarian funding for Western Saharan refugees coupled with the growing frustration among Saharawi youth over the lack of progress in the negotiations and lack of employment poses specific dangers for the region in the near future. The international community should increase their humanitarian support to the Saharawi refugees, who continue to live in the harsh desert conditions due to the non-resolution of the conflict.

We are of the view that the lack of progress continues to have dire humanitarian consequences and also remains an impediment towards greater regional integration and security cooperation in the region.

South Africa will continue to call for both parties- Morocco and the SADR- to resume direct negotiations in good faith and without preconditions to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

We also call for the end to the illegal exploitation of resources in the Western Sahara occupied territories and human rights abuses against the Saharawi people.

We trust that in April 2017, the issue of human rights will be taken into consideration when the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) will come before the Security Council for renewal. MINURSO must be given the mandate to monitor and report to the Council on human rights violations in Western Sahara.

We remain committed to continue to walk with the people of Western Sahara until they are free to live in their own land and able to determine their own future.

Behind Morocco's new tango with the African Union

Yohannes Woldemariam

The next African Union summit will be on January 31, 2017 in Addis Ababa, where Morocco is hoping to achieve its sinister agenda against Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony. The honourable thing for the AU is to rebuff Morocco’s arm-twisting and vigorously support the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

Morocco is currently courting a number of African countries relentlessly, including Madagascar, Tanzania, Rwanda, and others. Morocco has signed 19 economic agreements with Rwanda and 22 with Tanzania—two countries that traditionally backed Western Sahara’s quest for decolonization. Nigeria and Morocco have signed a total of 21 bilateral agreements, a joint venture to construct a gas pipeline that will connect the two nations as well as some other African countries to Europe. It is easily clear that the economic agreements with these countries imply ulterior motives for increasing Morocco’s leverage in its campaign to return to the African Union (AU) and deal a blow to Western Sahara’s aspirations for self-determination. Morocco is waging a similar campaign internationally and in the halls of the U.S. Congress by hiring expensive lobbyists and sleazy public relations firms

In this endeavor, it appears Morocco is making significant progress in isolating Western Sahara. Kenya, which once supported Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), reversed course in 2007 and now Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, candidate to head the African Union Commission, is calling for holding, as quickly as possible, “the referendum on Western Sahara people’s self-determination.” Zambia has similarly vacillated after early support for the cause of Western Sahara. According to WikiLeaks, at least until 2009 Ethiopia’s position was to recognize the SADR, declared by the Polisario (Western Sahara’s guerrilla army) in 1976 as its representative body. It still remains to be seen how countries will vote when it really matters.

Ironically, according to the WikiLeaks, Eritrea’s position is unknown but is not listed among the countries that recognized SADR, although the history of the territory bears striking resemblance to its own struggle for independence from Ethiopia and the independence struggles of Belize and East Timor. Both Belize and East Timor recognize SADR. Africa committed itself to maintain colonial borders, drawn arbitrarily in the 19th and 20th centuries, after the collapse of European colonialism. This commitment was not made because those borders made any sense: borders were rarely congruent with ethnic geographical homelands or previous historical delineations. One can debate the pros and cons of this but Africa made the decision in Cairo in 1964 to keep these borders in order to avoid disruptive and endless conflict of trying to rearrange colonial boundaries to fit language groups or ethnicities. For better or worse, that is what was decided with the Cairo resolution (AHG/Res. 16(I)). Nevertheless, Morocco is choosing to mess with that resolution by gobbling up Western Sahara.

But why does Morocco need the AU? And why does it need to bribe the African countries in order to return to the continental body as dysfunctional and weak as it is? The explanation for this dubious posturing lies in Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara and its need to legitimize it by enlisting as many African countries as possible to accept Western Sahara’s fate as fait accompli. Morocco has been occupying or colonizing (take your pick) the territory since 1974. Recently, U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki Moon characterized Morocco as an occupying force in Western Sahara, which obviously did not sit well with Morocco.


Western Sahara consists of the former Spanish colonies of Rio de Oro (River of Gold) and Saqiet al-Hamra (Red Creek) along the Atlantic coast, until the Spanish dictator Franco decided to leave the territories in 1974. The territory’s natural resources include phosphates, offshore fishing and potential oil. Morocco’s occupation has been aided by Spain and France (former colonizers) acting through the United Nations. Mauritania was also an early protagonist in occupying a part of Western Sahara but abandoned its claim after being soundly defeated by the Polisario, which precipitated the collapse of the Mauritanian government. Between Western Sahara and Morocco, there has been an impasse and a no-war, no-peace status quo since 1991, after a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations. Morocco has proposed “internal autonomy” for Western Sahara, but the Saharawis insist on a United Nations supervised referendum vote, with independence on the table. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) after consideration of materials and information provided by both sides concluded there is no evidence:

“…establish[ING] any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity... the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory.”

In a rare show of some backbone, the OAU welcomed Western Sahara’s membership, which incensed Morocco and caused its withdrawal from the organization in 1984—making it the only country to do so in the history of the organization. This was a strategic mistake by Morocco, which it seems to have finally realized. It is notable that the only country vocally supporting the Moroccan position at the time was the kleptocracy of Mobutu Sese Seko’s Zaire. Upon his overthrow, Mobutu was granted asylum in Togo but died in Morocco in 1997, where he was receiving medical treatment.

Morocco is now undergoing a change of heart and wants to join the successor to the O.A.U., the AU. Does this mean it wants to coexist with the Western Sahara within the “AU family,” perhaps rediscovering its African identity? The short answer is no. It is more like a change in tactics by trying to use the organization for its objective of neutralizing Western Sahara from inside the AU. Already, it has the backing of 28 African countries. However, it needs two thirds (36) of the votes from the 54 member countries of the AU to get SADR expelled. To return to the organization, it only needs a simple majority while overcoming resistance from powerful countries like South Africa and Algeria along with Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea. South Africa and Algeria have been reliable allies for SADR. This move by Morocco has become a terribly divisive wedge issue within the AU.

Outside Africa, Morocco has powerful support for its position from influential Gulf States such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, which are not members of the AU, but which can still use their political influence and the power of the purse to coerce and lobby cash-strapped African countries and the United Nations. In a clear show of muscle, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and UAE walked out from a meeting of the Arab and African foreign ministers meeting, which was held in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo, in preparation for the fourth Arab-African summit, because of opposition to the presence of a delegation from SADR. Notable here are Saudi Arabian and UAE’s forceful expressions of solidarity with Morocco.

Among African countries, Senegal strongly backs Morocco’s position, undoubtedly due to great pressure from France and Moroccan economic investors in Senegal. Morocco is also the largest investor in Ivory Coast and therefore can count on strong Ivorian support. Morocco has stronger support in Francophone Africa.

Tit for tat with Egypt

In a setback for Morocco, relations with Egypt have been strained visibly since the end of October due to President Abdelfattah El Sissi permitting a delegation from the Polisario Front to enter Sharm El-Sheikh in an official capacity. The delegation reportedly met with presidents of Arab and African parliaments and with members of the Egyptian legislature during its stay. The visit by the King of Morocco to Addis Ababa is likely in retaliation by Rabat to exploit Cairo’s ongoing dispute with Addis Ababa over the sharing of Nile waters and specifically over the issues surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia has been accusing Egypt of helping and stoking the ongoing ethnic rebellions in Ethiopia.

Illegal mining of Western Sahara’s potash

Morocco is exploiting and using Western Sahara’s potash resource to bribe and lobby countries like Ethiopia, casting doubt on the sincerity of its offer for “internal autonomy” to the territory.

According to the

“Two Canadian fertilizer firms have become the dominant buyers of phosphate rock from the disputed territory of Western Sahara after other companies stopped the practice… Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) found that Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. shipped a combined 916,000 tonnes of phosphate from the territory last year. That accounted for 64.5 per cent of all purchases from Western Sahara in 2015. Potash Corp. shipped 474,000 tonnes and Agrium shipped 442,000...”

Unholy overtures

At a time when the Ethiopian government is gripped by nationwide protests and foreign businesses are fleeing the country, there have been headlines that “Morocco signed an agreement…to invest over two billion dollars in Ethiopia over a five year period to build a fertilizer factory.” The Financial Times reported that the OCP (Morocco’s state-owned phosphate company) sealed a deal to build $3.7bn fertilizer plant in Ethiopia. This is hailed as the largest investment of Morocco outside the country and as an example of South-South cooperation. The dubious clue for this motive is to be found in “Ethiopia’s support for Morocco’s return to the African institutional family ...articulated in a joint statement issued following King Mohammed VI’s ... visit to Ethiopia, the first since his accession to the throne.”

Here, it needs to be asked: where is this resource feeding the fertilizer company coming from? And why is Ethiopia chosen for such an investment? Is this deal another case of partnership-in-crime?

Moroccan robbery of Western Sahara’s resources is widespread. Hillary Clinton was complicit with relaxing U.S. foreign aid restrictions on Morocco during her tenure as Secretary of State, allowing U.S. funds to be used in the territory of Western Sahara where OCP operates phosphate-mining operations. Collaterally, Hillary’s favor to Morocco resulted in $12 million for the Clinton Foundation, courtesy of King Mohammed VI.

Morocco’s questionable commitment to South- South cooperation

Ethiopia is seen as key for Morocco’s goals, as a founding member of the OAU hosting the headquarters of the AU’s Chinese-funded 200-million-dollar building in Addis Ababa, showcasing Chinese soft power. Morocco is framing its charm offensive in Africa in terms of South- South cooperation. But what really is Morocco’s commitment to South-South cooperation? Like Ethiopia, Morocco’s commitment, first of all, is commitment to an extreme form of neoliberalism and to an environmental narrative that blames pastoralists and their overgrazing practices as an excuse for invading and appropriating land for commercial agriculture and other land grabs. In Morocco, state services such as health care and education have faced drastic reduction. The promotion of exports and the lowering of tariffs is the reality. For the majority of their populations, rampant degradation and poverty are the reality in both countries.

A central tenet of South-South cooperation is poverty reduction, but neoliberalist market fundamentalism is incompatible with reducing inequality and protecting the environment. The beneficiaries from these policies are the elite and international capitalists and their results are a far cry from South-to-South cooperation that would alleviate poverty. Even the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was used by Morocco to insert itself in the 16 November 2016 meeting of the Africa Action Summit in Marrakesh. King Mohammed VI was the new face in the meeting, clearly pushing his campaign to get rid of SADR from the AU.

The struggle to deal seriously with climate change should not be circumvented by the unjust political agendas of opportunistic leaders. As Hamza Hamouchene of War on Want articulates: there cannot be authentic environmental justice in Morocco when its government ignores the political rights of the Saharawi people.

In 2009, in his capacity as a designated negotiator, the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi betrayed the G77’s and Africa’s collective stance in Copenhagen by making a back-door deal with France retreating from the agreed upon 1.5 degrees Celsius target to 2 degrees and thereby dealing a serious blow to the bargaining capacity of the global South. As Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones magazine wrote:

“The major powers welcomed Ethiopia’s defection from the 1.5-degree target. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown…endorsed the side deal with France….Obama placed a call to Zenawi [in which he] expressed his appreciation for the leadership [of] the Prime Minister… [In negotiating] with African countries on climate change.”

The truth was that Meles used Copenhagen to further his own immediate agenda at the expense of Africa in much the same way that King Mohammed VI used COP22 to support Morocco’s agenda of denying the rights of the Saharawi people.

Moroccan and Ethiopian versions of South-to-South cooperation is simply a repackaged version of neoliberalism based on extractive activities and destroying the lives of the most vulnerable. It is not a coincidence that both Ethiopia and Morocco are facing internal resistance from their populations, which they are trying to suppress with extreme violence.

The brutal death of the fish seller Mouhcine Fikri in the northern Moroccan town of Al Hoceima while trying to rescue his swordfish is being compared with the Tunisian fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi in 2010, whose death sparked the Arab Spring uprisings. Neoliberal privatization is preventing and displacing folks who have been selling or consuming fish for as long as they have been living in the coastal towns of Morocco. In Ethiopia, it is land grab and extreme repression that is having similar effect on communities in Gambella, Benishangul, and the Amhara region, Sidama, Konso, Ogaden and Oromia.

January 31, 2017, in Addis Ababa is the next AU summit, where Morocco is hoping to achieve its sinister goal against SADR. The honorable thing for the AU to do is to rebuff Morocco’s arm-twisting and vigorously support the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

* Yohannes Woldemariam is an educator and author. This article first appeared in theHuffington Post.

The attacks against foreigners are increasing in Morocco.

Jewish couple killed in Casablanca
The Moroccan government is trying to hide its notorious plight with terrorism to preserve the position of Morocco as a preferred destination for European tourists. The Moroccan authorities claimed the attacks were carried out by people affected by mental illness. However, these recursive attacks against tourists continue to multiply and it is increasingly clear that they are executed in the name of Islam. 

On October 4th 2016, a Dutch and two children on a visit to Casablanca were stabbed by a Moroccan while visiting the Hassan II Mosque. The video of the assault filmed by a witness went viral on social media networks imperiling the myth of Morocco as a holiday destination for European tourists. An assault that was met with total silence from the authorities, who not only imposed a blackout in the local press, but also begged discretion from Dutch consular authorities. Jewish couple murdered in Casablanca 

The same attitude of the Moroccan authorities was manifested in last August attack of five Italian owners of a circus parade when a Moroccan assailant killed one and four others were wounded. Again, the authorities hastily tried to minimize the political impact of this aggression by attributing the act to a "serial offender" and labeled the act as part of a "personal dispute" between the offender and the circus owners who had fired him from his job. 

On July 2nd 2016, Sam and Vicky Chetrit Toledano, a Jewish couple living in Casablanca, were murdered in their homes. In order to cover the tracks, the Moroccan authorities attributed the crime to their gardener. 

Last but not least, on September 26th 2016, three Spanish cyclists were attacked with an ax by a group of Moroccans in Nador, north of Morocco. Paradoxically, these bloody incidents haven't been described as a suspected case of "xenophobia" or, worse, an act of "terrorism" while they freshly carry all the ingredients of an act of xenophobia tinged in terrorism.

The iconic artist Cynthia Basinet stresses UN to solve Western Sahara conflict

The iconic singer, actress, activist, Cynthia Basinet, best known for the most popular version of "Santa Baby" returns to the United Nation for the 10th occasion to defend Western Sahara people's rights.

Basinet has worked to draw attention to the plight of the Sahrawi refugees of Western Sahara living since 40 years, in camps southern of Algeria waiting for their right to selfdetermination. 

In May 2001, she visited these camps in solidarity with the sahrawi people. Last October 5, 2016, speaking in a meeting of the United Nations Fourth Committee (also known as the Special Political and Decolonization Committee), Nobel Peace Prize nominee and social change activist, Cynthia Basinet warned that 16 years into a new century, the international community could "ill afford the cost of the voiceless". The World could not flourish if societies were alienated, she said, adding that "our enemies are those whom we alienate and not embrace, for they, too, are part of the solution". 

She said the struggle of the Sahrawi had strengthened her own fight; emphasizing that the time had come for a referendum in Western Sahara, as agreed in 1991."

Always on the forefront of social eco trends, Cynthia's stylistic influence can be witnessed in fashion to music and social media.

The LA native is best known for her jazzy pop stylings on her hits like, "Going Out Of My Head" and the sultry hit, "Santa Baby" recorded in 1997.

Her latest single, a dance anthem, "All Of Me", remix of John Legend's hit ballad now has fans jumping to their feet.

Morocco sufferns legal setback as EU official declares Western Sahara "not part of Morocco"

The tricky relationship between the EU and Morocco is set to become more fractious, after an influential legal opinion delivered to a Brussels court declared that the disputed territory of Western Sahara is not part of Morocco. In a statement issued on September 13, Melchior Wathelet, an advocate general at the Court of Justice in Brussels, said that “Western Sahara is not part of Moroccan territory and therefore … neither the EU-Morocco Association Agreement, nor the Liberalisation Agreement are applicable to it.” 

Advocates general provide independent legal opinions to judges at the Court of Justice. These opinions are advisory and non-binding but are often influential. The opinion is the latest step in an ongoing case which caused a serious rift between Brussels and Morocco last year. In December 2016, the Court of Justice ruled that a four-year-old deal between the EU and Morocco covering trade in agricultural and fishery products (also known as the Liberalisation Agreement) should be scrapped because it included products from Western Sahara. 

Members of the Polisario Front mourn their leader, Mohamed Abdelaziz, at his funeral in the Rabouni refugee camp in south west Algeria, on June 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Sidali Djarboub) That led Rabat to break off all contact with Brussels for three months. It was only mollified by the European Commission’s criticism of the court ruling and its decision to appeal the court’s verdict. The legal opinion offered to the court by Wathelet forms part of that appeal process. Morocco also fell out with the US over the issue of Western Sahara in May this year. 

Norway Continues to Distance Sovereign Wealth Fund from Energy Efforts in Western... Western Sahara Looms Heavy Over Morocco's Energy Aspirations Why Western Sahara Matters MOST POPULAR Photos: The Richest Person In Every State +368,986 VIEWS Apple iOS 10 Has 25 Great Secret Features MOST POPULAR Photos: The Most Expensive Home Listing in Every State 2016 MOST POPULAR iPhone 7: The Important Stuff The latest development is likely to cause further problems for the relationship between Brussels and Rabat and represents a set-back for the European Commission as much as it does for Morocco. The two sides are keen to foster better relations in a range of areas, including trade, migration and security. If the European Commission’s appeal fails – as now looks more likely – there could be ramifications in all these areas. It also represents something of a mixed blessing for the Polisario Front, the liberation movement for Western Sahara. Although Wathelet supported its long-standing contention that the territory is not part of Morocco, he also said the Polisario Front should only be recognised as the representative of the people of Western Sahara in the political process aiming to resolve the status of the territory, and not for the purposes of defending their commercial interests. Nonetheless, Emhamed Khadad, a member of the Polisario Front’s secretariat, said in a statement that “this is an important opinion and reaffirms once again that under international law Western Sahara is not part of Morocco.” As yet there has been no official statement from Morocco on the latest twist in the case. Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and has since claimed it as part of its own territory. However, it has few supporters for its position on the international stage. As Wathelet noted in his legal opinion, Western Sahara has been included on the UN’s list of non-self-governing territories since 1963 and the EU has never recognised the territory as being part of Morocco. In March this year, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon angered the Moroccan government when he described the situation as an “occupation”.

14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax For the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization

Did you know many African countries continue to pay colonial tax to France since their independence till today!

When Sékou Touré of Guinea decided in 1958 to get out of french colonial empire, and opted for the country independence, the french colonial elite in Paris got so furious, and in a historic act of fury the french administration in Guinea destroyed everything in the country which represented what they called the benefits from french colonization.

Three thousand French left the country, taking all their property and destroying anything that which could not be moved: schools, nurseries, public administration buildings were crumbled; cars, books, medicine, research institute instruments, tractors were crushed and sabotaged; horses, cows in the farms were killed, and food in warehouses were burned or poisoned.

The purpose of this outrageous act was to send a clear message to all other colonies that the consequences for rejecting France would be very high.

Slowly fear spread trough the african elite, and none after the Guinea events ever found the courage to follow the example of Sékou Touré, whose slogan was “We prefer freedom in poverty to opulence in slavery.”Sylvanus Olympio, the first president of the Republic of Togo, a tiny country in west Africa, found a middle ground solution with the French.

He didn’t want his country to continue to be a french dominion, therefore he refused to sign the colonisation continuation pact De Gaule proposed, but agree to pay an annual debt to France for the so called benefits Togo got from french colonization.

It was the only conditions for the French not to destroy the country before leaving. However, the amount estimated by France was so big that the reimbursement of the so called “colonial debt” was close to 40% of the country budget in 1963.

The financial situation of the newly independent Togo was very unstable, so in order to get out the situation, Olympio decided to get out the french colonial money FCFA (the franc for french african colonies), and issue the country own currency.

On January 13, 1963, three days after he started printing his country own currency, a squad of illiterate soldiers backed by France killed the first elected president of newly independent Africa. Olympio was killed by an ex French Foreign Legionnaire army sergeant called Etienne Gnassingbe who supposedly received a bounty of $612 from the local French embassy for the hit man job.

Olympio’s dream was to build an independent and self-sufficient and self-reliant country. But the French didn’t like the idea.

On June 30, 1962, Modiba Keita , the first president of the Republic of Mali, decided to withdraw from the french colonial currency FCFA which was imposed on 12 newly independent African countries. For the Malian president, who was leaning more to a socialist economy, it was clear that colonisation continuation pact with France was a trap, a burden for the country development.

On November 19, 1968, like, Olympio, Keita will be the victim of a coup carried out by another ex French Foreign legionnaire, the Lieutenant Moussa Traoré.

In fact during that turbulent period of African fighting to liberate themselves from European colonization, France would repeatedly use many ex Foreign legionnaires to carry out coups against elected presidents:

– On January 1st, 1966, Jean-Bédel Bokassa, an ex french foreign legionnaire, carried a coup against David Dacko, the first President of the Central African Republic.

– On January 3, 1966, Maurice Yaméogo, the first President of the Republic of Upper Volta, now called Burkina Faso, was victim of a coup carried by Aboubacar Sangoulé Lamizana, an ex French legionnaire who fought with french troops in Indonesia and Algeria against these countries independence.

– on 26 October 1972, Mathieu Kérékou who was a security guard to President Hubert Maga, the first President of the Republic of Benin, carried a coup against the president, after he attended French military schools from 1968 to 1970.

In fact, during the last 50 years, a total of 67 coups happened in 26 countries in Africa, 16 of those countries are french ex-colonies, which means 61% of the coups happened in Francophone Africa.

Number of Coups in Africa by country

As these numbers demonstrate, France is quite desperate but active to keep a strong hold on his colonies what ever the cost, no matter what. 

In March 2008, former French President Jacques Chirac said: 

“Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power” 

Chirac’s predecessor François Mitterand already prophesied in 1957 that: 

“Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century” 

At this very moment I’m writing this article, 14 african countries are obliged by France, trough a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control. Until now, 2014, Togo and about 13 other african countries still have to pay colonial debt to France. African leaders who refuse are killed or victim of coup. Those who obey are supported and rewarded by France with lavish lifestyle while their people endure extreme poverty, and desperation. 

It’s such an evil system even denounced by the European Union, but France is not ready to move from that colonial system which puts about 500 billions dollars from Africa to its treasury year in year out. 

We often accuse African leaders of corruption and serving western nations interests instead, but there is a clear explanation for that behavior. They behave so because they are afraid the be killed or victim of a coup. They want a powerful nation to back them in case of aggression or trouble. But, contrary to a friendly nation protection, the western protection is often offered in exchange of these leaders renouncing to serve their own people or nations’ interests. 

African leaders would work in the interest of their people if they were not constantly stalked and bullied by colonial countries. 

In 1958, scared about the consequence of choosing independence from France, Leopold Sédar Senghor declared: “The choice of the Senegalese people is independence; they want it to take place only in friendship with France, not in dispute.” 

From then on France accepted only an “independence on paper” for his colonies, but signed binding “Cooperation Accords”, detailing the nature of their relations with France, in particular ties to France colonial currency (the Franc), France educational system, military and commercial preferences. 

Below are the 11 main components of the Colonisation continuation pact since 1950s: 

#1. Colonial Debt for the benefits of France colonization 

The newly “independent” countries should pay for the infrastructure built by France in the country during colonization. 

I still have to find out the complete details about the amounts, the evaluation of the colonial benefits and the terms of payment imposed on the african countries, but we are working on that (help us with info). 

#2. Automatic confiscation of national reserves 

The African countries should deposit their national monetary reserves into France Central bank. 

France has been holding the national reserves of fourteen african countries since 1961: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. 

“The monetary policy governing such a diverse aggregation of countries is uncomplicated because it is, in fact, operated by the French Treasury, without reference to the central fiscal authorities of any of the WAEMU or the CEMAC. Under the terms of the agreement which set up these banks and the CFA the Central Bank of each African country is obliged to keep at least 65% of its foreign exchange reserves in an “operations account” held at the French Treasury, as well as another 20% to cover financial liabilities. 

The CFA central banks also impose a cap on credit extended to each member country equivalent to 20% of that country’s public revenue in the preceding year. Even though the BEAC and the BCEAO have an overdraft facility with the French Treasury, the drawdowns on those overdraft facilities are subject to the consent of the French Treasury. The final say is that of the French Treasury which has invested the foreign reserves of the African countries in its own name on the Paris Bourse. 

In short, more than 80% of the foreign reserves of these African countries are deposited in the “operations accounts” controlled by the French Treasury. The two CFA banks are African in name, but have no monetary policies of their own. The countries themselves do not know, nor are they told, how much of the pool of foreign reserves held by the French Treasury belongs to them as a group or individually. 

The earnings of the investment of these funds in the French Treasury pool are supposed to be added to the pool but no accounting is given to either the banks or the countries of the details of any such changes. The limited group of high officials in the French Treasury who have knowledge of the amounts in the “operations accounts”, where these funds are invested; whether there is a profit on these investments; are prohibited from disclosing any of this information to the CFA banks or the central banks of the African states .” Wrote Dr. Gary K. Busch

It’s now estimated that France is holding close to 500 billions African countries money in its treasury, and would do anything to fight anyone who want to shed a light on this dark side of the old empire. 

The African countries don’t have access to that money. 

France allows them to access only 15% of the money in any given year. If they need more than that, they have to borrow the extra money from their own 65% from the French Treasury at commercial rates. 

To make things more tragic, France impose a cap on the amount of money the countries could borrow from the reserve. The cap is fixed at 20% of their public revenue in the preceding year. If the countries need to borrow more than 20% of their own money, France has a veto. 

Former French President Jacques Chirac recently spoke about the African nations money in France banks. Here is a video of him speaking about the french exploitation scheme. He is speaking in French, but here is a short excerpt transcript: “We have to be honest, and acknowledge that a big part of the money in our banks come precisely from the exploitation of the African continent.” 

#3. Right of first refusal on any raw or natural resource discovered in the country 

France has the first right to buy any natural resources found in the land of its ex-colonies. It’s only after France would say, “I’m not interested”, that the African countries are allowed to seek other partners. 

#4. Priority to French interests and companies in public procurement and public biding 

In the award of government contracts, French companies must be considered first, and only after that these countries could look elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if the african countries can obtain better value for money elsewhere. 

As consequence, in many of the french ex-colonies, all the majors economical assets of the countries are in the hand of french expatriates. In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, french companies own and control all the major utilities – water, electricity, telephone, transport, ports and major banks. The same in commerce, construction, and agriculture. 

In the end, as I’ve written in a previous article, Africans now Live On A Continent Owned by Europeans!

#5. Exclusive right to supply military equipment and Train the country military officers 

Through a sophisticated scheme of scholarships, grants, and “Defense Agreements” attached to the Colonial Pact, the africans should send their senior military officers for training in France or French ran-training facilities. 

The situation on the continent now is that France has trained hundreds, even thousands of traitors and nourish them. They are dormant when they are not needed, and activated when needed for a coup or any other purpose! 

#6. Right for France to pre-deploy troops and intervene military in the country to defend its interests 

Under something called “Defence Agreements” attached to the Colonial Pact, France had the legal right to intervene militarily in the African countries, and also to station troops permanently in bases and military facilities in those countries, run entirely by the French. 

When President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire tried to end the French exploitation of the country, France organized a coup. During the long process to oust Gbagbo, France tanks, helicopter gunships and Special Forces intervened directly in the conflit, fired on civilians and killed many.

To add insult to injury, France estimated that the French business community had lost several millions of dollars when in the rush to leave Abidjan in 2006 the French Army massacred 65 unarmed civilians and wounded 1,200 others.

After France succeeded the coup, and transferred power to Alassane Outtara, France requested Ouattara government to pay compensation to French business community for the losses during the civil war.

Indeed the Ouattara government paid them twice what they said they had lost in leaving.

#7. Obligation to make French the official language of the country and the language for education

Oui, Monsieur. Vous devez parlez français, la langue de Molière!

A French language and culture dissemination organization has been created called “Francophonie” with several satellites and affiliates organizations supervised by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.

As demonstrated in this article, if French is the only language you speak, you’d have access to less than 4% of humanity knowledge and ideas. That’s very limiting.

#8. Obligation to use France colonial money FCFA

That’s the real milk cow for France, but it’s such an evil system even denounced by the European Union, but France is not ready to move from that colonial system which puts about 500 billions dollars from Africa to its treasury.

During the introduction of Euro currency in Europe, other european countries discovered the french exploitation scheme. Many, specially the nordic countries, were appalled and suggested France get rid of the system, but unsuccessfully.

#9. Obligation to send France annual balance and reserve report.

Without the report, no money.

Anyway the secretary of the Central banks of the ex-colonies, and the secretary of the bi-annual meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the ex-colonies is carried out by France Central bank / Treasury.

#10. Renonciation to enter into military alliance with any other country unless authorized by France

African countries in general are the ones with will less regional military alliances. Most of the countries have only military alliances with their ex-colonisers! (funny, but you can’t do better!).

In the case France ex-colonies, France forbid them to seek other military alliance except the one it offered them.

#11. Obligation to ally with France in situation of war or global crisis

Over one million africans soldiers fought for the defeat of nazism and fascism during the second world war.

Their contribution is often ignored or minimized, but when you think that it took only 6 weeks for Germany to defeat France in 1940, France knows that Africans could be useful for fighting for la “Grandeur de la France” in the future.

There is something almost psychopathic in the relation of France with Africa.

First, France is severely addicted to looting and exploitation of Africa since the time of slavery. Then there is this complete lack of creativity and imagination of french elite to think beyond the past and tradition.

Finally, France has 2 institutions which are completely frozen into the past, inhabited by paranoid and psychopath “haut fonctionnaires” who spread fear of apocalypse if France would change, and whose ideological reference still comes from the 19th century romanticism: they are the Minister of Finance and Budget of France and the Minister of Foreign affairs of France.

These 2 institutions are not only a threat to Africa, but to the French themselves.

It’s up to us as African to free ourselves, without asking for permission, because I still can’t understand for example how 450 french soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire could control a population of 20 millions people!? 

People first reaction when they learn about the french colonial tax is often a question: “Until when?”

For historical comparison, France made Haiti to pay the modern equivalent of $21 billion from 1804 till 1947 (almost one century and half) for the losses caused to french slave traders by theabolition of slavery and the liberation of the Haitian slaves.

African countries are paying the colonial tax only for the last 50 years, so I think one century of payment might be left!

Madrid: Morocco recruits terrorists in European countries considered as "enemies" because of their support to Western Sahara independence

Spanish media sources, of which "El Mundo" and "La Razón", revealed some details and informations confirming involvement of Gulf states in supporting and financing terrorist organizations and extremist religious associations, including "Daesh" and the group "Brothers" on Spanish territory, and in a number of countries over the world.

Spanish newspapers shed light on the financing of radical Islamist organizations in Spain matter, particularly the group "Muslim Brothers", "Islamic Liberation Party", "Justice and Charity Party" and "Tabligh Movement" as well as Salafi movement.

According to the spanish newspaper "La Razón", some anti-terrorist sources in Spain, confirmed that wealthy businessmen from the Gulf are financing radical nature imams at Catalan region, where exist 250 mosques, of which 80 in Barcelona, ​​noting that experts from Spanish anti-terrorist police confirmed that recruitment operations towards Syria and Iraq are carried out systematically with funds from the Gulf.

The newspaper added that "Brothers" are political Islam supporters just as a cover, but reality is organizations depending on "Brothers" are working in the shade to spread violence in Spain. It highlighted there is an imam called Mohammed Atouli, which controls several mosques at "Costa Brava region", said mosques in the region has received half a million euros. He said this amount came from the donations of believers, but Spanish intelligence services revealed that this amount is too large for the number of Muslims in the region, which pushed them to open an investigation on the destination of these funds.

"El Mundo" highlighted Spanish interior ministry officials are following since years the phenomenon evolution in Catalonia: They confirmed that among 10 most radical imams in Spain, 6 of them live in Catalonia and pointed out that direct financing from Gulf states under various names, are what make radicalism and extremism spreading.

The newspaper emphasize that Spain has a high level of terrorist threat, and there is a high probability of a terrorist attack in Spain or against Spanish interests abroad, according to Spanish intelligence, noting that Morocco was behind the recruitment of terrorists, especially in Melilla and Ceuta, two spanish cities, and send them to Europe, especially towards the countries supporting UN resolutions on Western Sahara self-determination, considered by Rabat as enemy states.

Source : Al.Fajr, 23/07/2016

Western Sahara: Mission Mandate Extended for 12 Months

This morning, the Council adopted a resolution on the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), with ten votes in favour, two against(Uruguay and Venezuela), and three abstentions (Angola, New Zealand and Russia). Twice before there has been a non-consensual renewal on MINURSO’s mandate. In 1999 with fourteen votes in favour and one abstention, and in 2000 with 12 in favour, one against and two abstentions. (The last Council resolution that was adopted with two or more votes against was resolution 688 of April 1991, which was used by France, the UK and the US to establish Iraqi no-fly zones to protect humanitarian operations in Iraq. Resolution 688 was adopted with ten votes in favour, three against, and two abstentions).

The lack of consensus on this resolution reflects the divisions over the developments and process leading up to this adoption. Following a dispute between the Secretary-General and Morocco, Morocco demanded the withdrawal of most of the civilian staff from MINURSO. (For background to these developments please see the What’s in Blue stories on 26 March and 26 April.) The resolution extends the mandate of MINURSO for 12 months, and requests the Secretary-General “to brief the Council within 90 days on whether MINURSO has returned to full functionality and expresses its intention, if it has not done so, to consider how best to facilitate this”.

Negotiations on the draft
The text was initially drafted by the penholder, the US, using as a basis last year’s resolution, and then discussed among the Group of Friends on Western Sahara (France, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US). It appears that several elements of the original US text were amended at this stage. Originally the text requested the Secretary-General to brief the Council “within 60 days on whether MINURSO has returned to full functionality and expresses its intention, if MINURSO has not achieved full functionality, to consider immediate steps to facilitate achievement of this goal”. This was replaced by softer language requesting a briefing within 120 days “on whether MINURSO has returned to full functionality and expresses its intention, if MINURSO has not achieved full functionality, to consider how best to facilitate achievement of this goal”.

Changes made in the preambular part at this stage included removing language on the expulsion of MINURSO civilian personnel in a sentence on how MINURSO’s ability to carry out its mandate has been affected by the majority of its civilian personnel not being able to carry out its duties. The draft that was circulated to the larger Council membership simply noted with concern that “MINURSO’s ability to fully carry out its mandate has been affected as the majority of its civilian component, including political personnel, cannot perform their duties within MINURSO’s area of operations”. A direct indication that the civilian staff had been expelled by Morocco was therefore removed.

Another change in preambular language is that the original text recognised the important role played by MINURSO in “monitoring the ceasefire, contributing to the Security Council’s awareness of the situation on the ground and promoting a mutually acceptable political solution”, but was replaced by recognising “the important role played by MINURSO on the ground and the need for it to fully implement its mandate”, omitting reference to elements of the mandate that are resisted by Morocco. It seems that in the Group of Friends, amendments were largely suggested by France.

The text was circulated to all Council members about twenty minutes before scheduled consultations on Wednesday (27 April). Following the consultations, members met at Permanent Representative-level to discuss the draft, which at that time was scheduled for adoption the following morning. It appears that New Zealand, Uruguay and Venezuela said that they could not support a resolution that they were not given time to negotiate. Several members also expressed disappointment at the weak language of the text and the lack of transparency in the drafting process. Following the meeting, the adoption was delayed to this morning, allowing one more day for deliberations.

Yesterday, members met at political coordinator level to discuss the draft text. The reporting period on MINURSO emerged as the main issue of contention, with Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, the UK, Uruguay and Venezuela arguing to have the request reduced from 120 days to a shorter period. Some members also wanted stronger language in this paragraph. It appears that Russia made a point of stating that, while the document had been discussed in the Group of Friends, it was not a consensual text of the group. Issues related to both the language and scope of the draft text were raised by several Council members. A number expressed the view that the draft text ought to have strong language calling for the resumption of direct talks and movement on the political process, instead of focusing largely on the current crisis. Some members also wanted the text to reflect the implications that the conflict has on peace and security in the region. It appears that throughout the meeting the US stressed that, while it valued the serious concerns of Council members, a balanced approach was needed as this was a very delicate text. As a result, there was a general sense that no substantive change would be possible. Members were also aware that Morocco was following the negotiations closely and that it had indicated to Council members that it would prefer not to have any changes to the text by the larger Council membership.

Last night, the US circulated and immediately put in blue a revised text, in which two changes were made. Firstly, it expressed regret, rather than “noting with concern”, that MINURSO’s ability to fully carry out its mandate is being affected by the civilian staff not being able to perform their duties; and secondly, the request to have the Secretary-General brief the Council in 120 days was reduced to 90 days, though the language of this paragraph was otherwise unchanged.

Explanation of Vote
Following this morning’s vote, Angola, France, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, the UK, the US, Uruguay and Venezuela provided an explanation of vote. Those who voted against or abstained cited numerous concerns, both substantive and in relation to the process. Venezuela described the drafting process as having a “total absence of transparency” with only one substantive discussion, and stated that the resulting document does not reflect the positions of several Council members. Similar views were voiced by Angola, Malaysia and New Zealand. . There was also unhappiness voiced over perceived double standards by Angola and Venezuela which said that without the backing of friends on the Council, measures would be imposed on Morocco, as they are on other African countries.

Another common refrain among dissenting members related to what they perceived to be weak, vague or misleading language. Uruguay raised concerns that the text is almost identical to that adopted in previous years as if it were “business as usual”, even in light of Morocco’s decision of 16 March to expel MINURSO’s civilian staff, which radically changed the ability of the Council-mandate mission to operate. Angola, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venezuela said that the resolution should have demanded the immediate return of the expelled staff. Russia noted that including reference to “the serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward” sent the wrong political message. Uruguay, together with Venezuela, said that 90 days was too long a review period. Uruguay also criticised the fact there was no indication in the text as to how MINURSO can return to full functionality, or who would be responsible for this. In addition, it pointed out the weak commitment conveyed by using “expressing its intention” in relation to the Council considering how to facilitate the return to full functionality if this has not happened by the 90 period.

Another common issue raised by the dissenting members was that the resolution did not address the wider political process. Venezuela criticised the Council for wanting to “arbitrarily” forget MINURSO’s original mandate of conducting a referendum for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people, a sentiment that was echoed by Uruguay. New Zealand stressed that the Council should have taken up the advice of the Secretary-General that the time has come to engage in serious negotiations without preconditions and in good faith to reach “a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”

Many of the countries that voted in favour of the resolution acknowledged the difficulties of the negotiation process, but also stressed that renewing the mandate is crucial for the continuation of the important work being done by MINURSO. The UK, US and Spain urged Morocco and the Secretary-General to work to overcome the current crisis. France, Senegal and the US all described Morocco’s autonomy plan as a serious and credible basis for a solution. Both the UK and the US noted that the Council has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the mandates that it authorises. The US also said that the Council had to ensure the effectiveness and safety of peacekeeping personnel worldwide, including those serving in MINURSO, stating that the Council must respond swiftly and proactively in any situation in which a government requires the staff from a UN peacekeeping mission immediately to depart.

Nailed, Morocco sets its terrorists in motion against Western Sahara civil population

In a video posted on Youtube, and in a Daesh-like-scenario, a named Said Zalmat, a bearded Moroccan in Islamist hard liner fundamentalist way and the look of a subservient member of a terrorist group, holds a speech full of mouths blows against the Polisario and Algeria. Carrying a Samurai sword, a head bandaged in black with white letters of the Moroccan kingdom official slogan; Allah, homeland, king and dressed in a military uniform, this terrorist hastily comes out of a mountain cave, walks on a rocky hill in the outskirts of The Moroccan city Mekness and begins using and abusing the Islamic terminology to warn and threaten those he qualifies enemies of the territorial integrity of Morocco, namely the Saharawis and Algerians. Straight at the end of his speech full of insatiable hatred, he sets ablaze the flag of the Saharawi Republic and that of Algeria promising their states and peoples a bitter retaliation and horrible repercussions.

Nevertheless, this is not the first time that Rabat monarchical regime sets in motion its terrorists to threaten the Sahrawis amid the full knowledge of the Moroccan security authorities without that the latter take measures to deter these terrorist and extremely dangerous actions. Likewise, not a long time ago a young man named Amine El Baroudi, affiliated with Morocco Royalist Youth, a youth organization fabricated by Morocco official apparatus, posted a video (see below) in which he violently attacked the Sahrawi population, threatening them of gruesome revenge, gun at hand. Nevertheless, no law suit was issued against him. 
Even worse, in an article in the Moroccan online newspaper “l’Observateur du Maroc”,” the director of this publication himself Arif Hakim, disguised in a call for a cyber-terrorist war, encourages young Moroccans to commit terrorist actions against the Saharawis http: // 

This scurrilous call to inflict harmful acts against the The Saharawi civilian population has been echoed visually this time. In fact, in its news bulletin, the local widely viewed Moroccan TV 2M held the Saharawis students responsible accusing them of killing a Moroccan student during the bloody events that took place in Marrakech university campus. An accusation pronounced live before even the release of the final investigation report of Morocco royal prosecutor, not mentioning the court final verdict.
For the colonial regime in Rabat, everything is permitted to defend its occupation of Western Sahara including official state hatred campaign against the Saharawis and the use of terrorism.
Khalil Asmar

Sahrawis must enjoy their right to self-determination within the framework of a mutually acceptable political solution.

I have just come from Tindouf last night, where I saw first-hand the very harsh conditions of the refugees. For more than forty years, they have been separated from their families. I was deeply, deeply saddened – and especially concerned about the children who may not be able to imagine life beyond the camps. The children who were born 40 years ago, they have become 40 years old – can you believe that? Young children, boys and girls, I was so sad, particularly sad for them because if they think that the end of their camp is the end of the world, end of their vision, end of their dream, then what will happen to them? We have to be responsible. We have to do much, much more.

I saw tens of thousands of people yesterday. They all came out of refugee camps. It was 18 years after when the last Secretary-General visited that camp. Kofi Annan, my predecessor was there in 1998. Eighteen years after I was there. It was too late and I felt very much guilty sense that why am I here so late? But I thought never too late, anyway. I have seen from their faces who are sending their urgent appeal, messages, out of frustration, out of anger, against the international community, against the United Nations and maybe the countries who can have influence on them, including the members of the Security Council.

The world cannot forget the Sahrawi people. They must enjoy their human rights – their human dignity; even minimum human dignity I couldn’t find from there – especially the right to self-determination within the framework of a mutually acceptable political solution.

Addressing the Western Sahara issue is a major purpose of my visit to this region. I am here with an urgent plea for more attention and action.

I intend to resume this trip with visits to Morocco and Laayoune.

I have three important objectives of my visit to this region.

First: to assess the search for a settlement on Western Sahara. I am calling for a more positive spirit by all the parties. I am here with [Personal] Representative Ambassador Christopher Ross but I have asked him to engage in more shuttle diplomacy so that this dormant negotiation could be resuscitated as soon as possible

Second, to shine a spotlight on this neglected humanitarian tragedy. The world must address the terrible suffering of the Sahrawi refugees. And I’m going to convene soon in Geneva a donor conference.

And third, to pay tribute to the staff of our Mission there, MINURSO, and encourage them to continue their mission even though it may be very difficult. It’s the middle of desert, middle of nowhere. I was very much saddened but I was very much grateful to these young women and men who were just sitting in the middle of desert where there was no other facilities but engaging in monitoring the ceasefire, demining and providing water and sanitation to these people. We have many hardworking United Nations staff and international humanitarian agencies who are working day and night.

I have held very productive talks with the Foreign Minister this morning and I’m going to engage in continuing dialogue with His Excellency President Bouteflika and the Prime Minister and other Algerian leaders today. This country has played a key role on Western Sahara and I really count on the government of Algeria and its people for their continuing support. I heard from particularly many women refugees, they were sending their appreciation to Algerian people.