domingo, 23 de novembro de 2008

Postponement of the European Parliament’s mission to the occupied territories

The European Parliament’s mission, which was due to visit the occupied territories of Western Sahara from the 21 to the 24 of November, was postponed following a demand from the members of the EP Ad-hoc Committee to Western Sahara, it was indicated on Friday.

The members of the Committee preferred to postpone their departure to next January, refusing the programme that was proposed by the Moroccan authorities, because it doesn’t meet the objectives of the mission, the same sources indicated.

During a meeting at the seat of the European Parliament last September 10 the President of the delegation Maghreb, Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo, declared that the Moroccan Ambassador in Brussels told him that the Moroccan authorities accepted this joint visit of five Parliamentarians, including two of the Ad-hoc Committee, and the members of the Delegation Maghreb.

Nevertheless, a group of parliamentarians expressed doubts that this visit would ever take place despite of the promises of the Moroccan Embassy in Brussels.

Representatives of some political groups in the EP, on their side, expressed reserves about the idea of constituting a joint mission, taking into consideration that the Ad-hoc Committee to Western Sahara was supposed to visit the territory alone.

POLISARIO Front’s representative in Brussels, Mr. Jamal Zakari, declared that the European institutions are called to exercise more pressures on Morocco to “allow the EP ad-hoc Committee to complete its mission its was mandate for by the European Parliament".

It should be recalled that the European Parliament decided to send an ad-hoc Committee to investigate on human rights situation in Western Sahara since 2005. The delegation was able to visit the Saharawi refugee camps and the Saharawi liberated zones under POLISARIO control in 2006, while Morocco didn’t collaborate with it since then.