sábado, 17 de janeiro de 2009
Secretary-General to appoint new Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Executive Representative for UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Christopher Ross of the United States as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara and Michael von der Schulenburg of Germany as his Executive Representative for the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). Mr.Ross will replace Peter van Walsum and Mr. von der Schulenburg will replace Victor Da Silva Angelo.
The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. van Walsum for his dedicated service on the important issue of Western Sahara. The Secretary-General is also grateful to Mr. Da Silva Angelo, who currently serves as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), for his committed service in Sierra Leone.
Mr. Ross will work with the parties, and neighbouring countries based on the most recent Security Council resolution 1813 (2008) and previous resolutions, building on progress made to date, in pursuit of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people ofWestern Sahara.
He takes up his new assignment following a long and distinguished career with the United States Department of State, where he focused especially on Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He is a former United States Ambassador to Syria and to Algeria, and was most recently Senior Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at the United States Mission to the United Nations.
After retiring in 1999, Mr. Ross returned to active service to help coordinate United States public diplomacy towards the Arab and Muslim worlds (2001-2003). He then served as Senior Adviser to the United States Embassy in Baghdad (2004) and Special Adviser in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, working on Iraq. From 2006-2007, he was Senior Adviser to the United States Delegations to the General Assembly.
Mr. Ross's earlier postings in the United States Foreign Service include: Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Director of Regional Affairs of the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires in Algiers; Press Attaché in Beirut, Lebanon; and Director of the American Cultural Center in Fez,Morocco.
He holds a Bachelor's degree in Oriental (Near Eastern) studies from Princeton University, and a Master of Arts in international relations and Middle Eastern studies from Johns Hopkins University. He speaks English, Arabic and French, and has taught Arabic at Columbia and Princeton Universities.
Born on 3 March 1943, he has one son.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Christopher Ross of the United States as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara and Michael von der Schulenburg as his Executive Representative for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL).
Mr. Ross, who replaces Peter van Walsum, has had a long and distinguished career with the US State Department in which he focused on Middle Eastern and North African affairs.
A former US Ambassador to Syria and to Algeria, he was most recently Senior Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at the US Mission to the UN.
"Mr. Ross will work with the parties and neighbouring countries based on the most recent Security Council Resolution 1813 and previous resolutions, building on progress made to date, in pursuit of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.
Several rounds of UN-led talks, bringing together representatives from Morocco and the Frente Polisario, held last year resulted in the parties agreeing to continue negotiations in good faith towards a solution to the issue.
Morocco holds that its sovereignty over Western Sahara should be recognized, while the Frente Polisario's position is that the Territory's final status should be decided in a referendum that includes independence as an option.
Mr. von der Schulenburg, who replaces Victor Da Silva Angelo, is currently Acting Executive Representative for the UN Office in Sierra Leone.
He brings with him a wide range of experience that covers virtually all aspects of UN activities from development assistance to humanitarian aid and managerial reforms, and from combating illicit drug trafficking to conflict resolution and political affairs.
His career with the UN includes assignments in Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Most recently, he served that as the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Political Affairs with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Sahrawi Arabic Democratic Republic sent 15 January 2009 a letter to Kosmos Energy demanding the company to terminates its operations in occupied Western Sahara. On 13 January 2009 a similar letter was sent to Dutch-Norwegian seismic survey company Fugro-Geoteam, which started its exploration for Kosmos in January.
15 January 2009
Mr. James C. Musselman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kosmos Energy, LLC
8401 N. Central Expressway
Dallas , Texas 75225
Dear Mr. Musselman,
Further to my letter to you of 16 June 2006 regarding the signature by Kosmos Energy LLC (‘Kosmos’) of a Moroccan license purporting to authorize petroleum exploration in areas offshore of the territory of Western Sahara, I am writing again in response to news that a vessel operated by Fugro-Geoteam, a Norwegian-based unit of Dutch oil services group Fugro, has been engaged by Kosmos to conduct seismic surveys off the coast of Western Sahara.
As I noted in my previous letter to you – to which I have yet to receive a response – these activities are in direct violation of international law. Morocco is not recognized by the UN as an administering power in Western Sahara, and therefore has no right to authorize or undertake activities related to the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara.
The International Court of Justice confirmed in 1975 that there is no tie of territorial sovereignty between Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco . Morocco ’s presence in the territory is the result of an illegal invasion in 1975 and the ensuing occupation. A string of UN Security Council resolutions has deplored the invasion, and called for Morocco to withdraw from the territory.
No country recognizes Morocco ’s sovereignty over any part of the territory of Western Sahara. On the contrary, more than seventy countries have recognized the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as the sovereign authority over the territory of Western Sahara. The SADR was admitted as a member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1982, and is a full founding member state of the African Union (AU).
At the request of the UN Security Council, the then-United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Legal Counsel, Mr Hans Corell, issued a legal opinion in January 2002 relating to the legality of actions taken by Moroccan authorities to enter into contracts with foreign entities for the exploration of mineral resources in Western Sahara . In the opinion, Mr Corell found that if
‘exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the principles of international law applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories’. (UN Document S/2006/161)
It has come to our attention that Kosmos Energy has engaged Fugro-Geoteam to conduct seismic data acquisition activities, and that those activities are currently underway. The SADR, as the recognized sovereign authority for Western Sahara , has jurisdiction over, as well as the exclusive right to regulate and authorize, marine scientific research within its territorial waters. It also has the discretion to withhold its consent for such activities where those activities have ‘direct significance’ for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, both living and non-living.
To my knowledge, no attempt has been made by Kosmos Energy to contact, inform or seek authorization for the aforementioned seismic data acquisition activities from or by the SADR as the rightful sovereign authority and representative of the people of Western Sahara . If such efforts had been made, your company would be aware that its activities are in direct conflict with the rights granted by the SADR Petroleum Authority to other commercial interests pursuant to petroleum licenses entered into in 2005. Further information regarding these licenses is available at http://www.sadroilandgas.com.
Finally, I note the public commitment of Kosmos to carrying out its business according to the highest international business standards. This commitment is seriously jeopardized by ongoing activities in Western Sahara ’s waters. Over recent years, a number of companies operating in Western Sahara pursuant to commercial arrangements with the Kingdom of Morocco have withdrawn their operations. For example, French company Total withdrew in 2004, as did Kerr-McGee in 2006 following the decision by the Norwegian Government Petroleum Fund to divest its interests in the company. In doing so, the Fund noted that Kerr-McGee’s presence in Western Sahara constituted ‘a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms’.
In light of the above, it is my responsibility to inform you that the Government of the SADR, including the SADR Petroleum Authority, reserves the right to use all available means, including legal avenues, to prevent and seek reparation in respect of any unauthorized activities relating to the natural resources of Western Sahara.
I look forward to your prompt response.
SADR Petroleum Authority
Advisor to the HE Mohamed Abdelaziz, President of the SADR.
Member of the Polisario leadership.
cc. Mr Hans Meyer
14 January 2009
Mr. Hans Meyer
Dear Mr. Meyer,
Seismic Acquisition in Western Sahara (SADR)
The Government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) has learnt that Fugro-Geoteam is involved in seismic acquisition offshore our territory.
As you would be aware, Western Sahara is currently illegally occupied by Morocco . Western Sahara is formally classified by the United Nations as a ‘Non self-governing territory’, which means that it is still waiting for a process of decolonisation through a UN process.
After a long and bloody war that lasted 17 years Moroccan and the Saharawi independence movement agreed to a UN sponsored cease-fire 1991 as part of a Settlement Plan that should have culminated in referendum of self-determination in 1992. However, the referendum has not taken place yet due to Morocco ’s obstructions.
Morocco has not only obstructed the UN peace process and violated the UN resolutions and the agreements it signed with the Polisario Front but has also continuously abused human rights in the occupied Territories of Western Sahara according to recent Human Rights Watch Report of 19 December 2008: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/12/19/human-rights-western-sahara-and-tindouf-refugee-camps-0
The award of exploration licenses over the territorial waters of Western Sahara by Morocco has been condemned by the SADR as an illegal act aimed at legitimising Morocco’s illegal occupation of our country and plundering our resources. Such deals are unacceptable to the Saharawi people and are considered as highly provocative and indeed a violation of the current cease-fire arrangements. Furthermore, the involvement of foreign companies in Western Sahara is profoundly unethical and immoral because the deals are made with Morocco which is an absolute monarchy that has a bad human rights record and has been involved in acts of aggression against a neighbouring country.
In 2002, the Under-Secretary-General of Legal Affairs, Mr Hans Correll, issued a legal opinion to the Security Council on the matter in which he reaffirmed that Morocco has no sovereignty over Western Sahara . Mr Correll stated that if exploration and exploitation of the oil resources of the Territory “were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories”. During a conference held in December 2008 in South Africa Mr. Correll reaffirmed his opinion of 2002 and added referring to agreements made with Morocco that it is "obvious that an agreement…that does not make a distinction between the waters adjacent to Western Sahara and the waters adjacent to the territory of Morocco would violate international law": http://www.havc.se/res/SelectedMaterial/20081205pretoriawesternsahara1.pdf
Several companies that got involved in Western Sahara through deals made with Morocco have decided to withdraw amongst them for example Kerr McGee, Total and Baraka. Other companies have preferred to deal with the Saharawi republic and not engage in the exploitation of SADR resources until the Saharawi republic is admitted to the UN.
The Government of the SADR, which is a founding member of the African Union and recognised by over 80 Countries world-wide as the sovereign authority over the territory of Western Sahara , considers that the presence of Fugro-Geoteam in Western Sahara is illegal and highly unwarranted.
The Government of the SADR strongly urges Fugro-Geoteam to cease its illegal activities in Western Sahara immediately.
The Government of the SADR considers illegal any activities related to the exploration or exploitation of the natural resources of the SADR without its express authorization. The Government of the SADR reserves the right to pursue legal action in respect of any such unauthorized activities.
It is worth noting that Western Sahara remains a conflict area and all foreign nations in order to safeguard the security and well- being of their citizens ought to discourage them from getting involved in the Territory until the resolution of the conflict. Foreign companies have a special duty not to involve their employees in a conflict zone. The companies should assume their responsibilities and end their presence in Western Sahara henceforth.
Mohamed Salem Ould Salek
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic
Western Sahara Resource Watch demands that Fugro-Geoteam terminate their profoundly unethical activities, and immediately withdraw their vessel "Geo Caribbean" from the Western Saharan waters. Fugro works in occupied Western Sahara on behalf of Moroccan authorities. Read open letter to Fugro, 12 January 2009.
CEO, Hans Ivar Meyer
Melbourne/Oslo, 12 January 2009
Open letter regarding Fugro-Geoteam's involvement in occupied Western Sahara.
It is with great disappointment that we today learned about Fugro-Geoteam's involvement in Kosmos Energy's explorations offshore occupied Western Sahara.
We urge your company to terminate your profoundly unethical activities, and immediately withdraw your vessel "Geo Caribbean" from the Western Saharan waters.
We would also like to point you to a few legal, political and ethical dilemmas regarding your engagement.
Western Sahara is occupied by Morocco, and the majority of the indigenous Sahrawi people has fled to Algeria since the occupation began, where they are currently living in refugee camps. The situation in the camps has for years been characterised by an acute shortage of food and medical supplies. One out of 5 children in the refugee camps are suffering from malnourishment, according to 2008 report by Norwegian Church Aid.
At the same time, the human rights situation in the occupied Western Sahara remains severe. The Human Rights organization Freedom House qualifies the 2008 human rights situation in occupied Western Sahara to be on the same level as Zimbabwe. A 216 page report by Human Rights Watch in December 2008 clearly documents a large number of human rights violations in the territory, committed by Moroccan authorities. More than 500 Sahrawis have 'disappeared' in Moroccan captivity since the occupation began.
No states in the world, nor the International Court of Justice, recognise the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. More than 100 UN resolutions demand that the right of self-determination for the Sahrawi people be respected, but Morocco refuses to accept the referendum which the UN is demanding.
There is a fragile truce in Western Sahara at this moment. The UN is present in the territory to monitor a ceasefire from 1991. Saharawis under occupation and in exile are increasingly frustrated over the standstill. Since Morocco does not respect the referendum plans as elaborated in the peace agreements, Polisario Front is in now seriously deliberations over whether to return to arms.
Polisario has also considered the Moroccan oil search beginning in 2001 as a violation of the Morocco-Polisario agreements from 1991.
The UN considers the oil search in Western Sahara a violation of international law, if they were to proceed in the disregard of the wishes and interests of the Sahrawis. Please find the 2002 UN legal opinion here: www.arso.org/Olaeng.pdf. The former leader of the 2002 expert team, the UN ex-undersecretary general for legal affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, in a conference on 4-5 December 2008 by the South African Department of Foreign Affairs and the University of Pretoria, gave the following address, which puts the opinion into context: http://www.havc.se/res/SelectedMaterial/20081205pretoriawesternsahara1.pdf
Neither Fugro, nor Kosmos Energy, have given proof that their activities are in line with international law as elaborated by the UN opinion, i.e. that the Sahrawi people has been consulted, or that it is actually in line with their interests and wishes.
Please see letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, on 8 June 2004, to Fugro NV, which proves this point. The letter urges Fugro NV to abstain from activity in Western Sahara, following your previous engagement in the territory. http://www.wsrw.org/index.php?cat=131&art=1008.
The Norwegian Ministry of Finance stated in 2005 that activity similar to the one that you are now doing was "a particularly serious violation of fundamental ethical norms e.g. because it may strengthen Morocco's sovereignty claims and thus contribute to undermining the UN peace process". See the Norwegian government's opinion of the Kerr-McGee Boujdour block contract here, as they divested from Kerr-McGee of ethical reasons:
The oil industry has played clear role in giving Morocco the impression that the sovereignty claims are stronger than before. Kosmos Energy, for instance, claims consistently, and cynically, that Western Sahara is "Morocco's Southern Provinces", and "believes it has made the right bet as to which party will prevail" in the conflict. http://www.wsrw.org/index.php?parse_news=single&cat=128&art=709.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges Norwegian companies to abstain from activities in Western Sahara, due to the aspects of international law. We believe you are aware of that already:
We are also confident that it is in Fugro's own interest to maintain good relations with the over 70 states in the world that recognise the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as a state. The fact that Fugro has now repeatedly carried out such activities, do not give the impression that your company takes Corporate Social Responsibility very seriously.
To conclude, carrying out Fugro-Geoteam's participation in the oil exploration is politically controversial, since it supports Morocco's unfounded claim over Western Sahara, it is contributing to undermining and violating international law, and it is, most importantly, deeply unethical, since it contributes to the continued suffering for the oppressed Sahrawi people.
The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara and the international organisation Western Sahara Resource Watch insist that your company immediately terminate your activities, and withdraw your vessel 'Geo Caribbean' from Western Saharan waters.
Chairman, Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara
Western Sahara Resource Watch
Norwegian Parliament's Committee for Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
CFO of Fugro NV, Mr. Klaas Wester
CEO of Fugro NV, Mr. AndrÃ© Jonkman
CEO of Thor Offshore, Mr. Hans Andrias Joensen
Executive Vice President and CFO of Kosmos Energy, Mr. Greg Dunlevy
Paris, La France a salué jeudi la nomination par le Secrétaire général des Nations unies de Christopher Ross comme nouvel Envoyé personnel pour le Sahara occidental.
"La France salue la nomination par le Secrétaire général des Nations unies de Christopher Ross comme Envoyé personnel pour le Sahara occidental" et "espère que cette nomination permettra aux parties d'entrer dans une phase plus substantielle des négociations", a déclaré le porte-parole du ministère français des Affaires étrangères, Eric chevalier.
Eric Chevalier a également fait part du soutien de son pays "aux efforts déployés par le Secrétaire général des Nations unies afin de parvenir à une solution politique réaliste, durable et mutuellement acceptable" par les parties au conflit, le Maroc et le Front Polisario.
The move announced on Friday followed calls by Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, and Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, for all Arab nations to cut ties with Israel.
Addressing leaders at an emergency Arab summit in Doha, the Qatari capital, al-Assad declared that the Arab initiative for peace with Israel was now "dead".
He said Arab countries should cut "all direct and indirect" ties with Israel in protest against its offensive in Gaza.
His comments echoed those of Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip, who also called on all Arab states to cut ties with Israel.
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries who have signed peace treaties with Israel and have Israeli embassies.
The Qatari-hosted Arab summit concluded Friday with participants agreeing to present a Kuwaiti-hosted summit - to be held on Sunday - with a list of measures to end the conflict in Gaza.
Those measures include demanding that Israel stops its offensive in the Strip, is held responsible for "crimes" committed in Gaza and immediately re-opens all border crossings.
The summit also agreed that all Arab countries should form a "sea-bridge" that would enable aid supplies to reach Gaza.
Speaking from Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said Israel should be barred from the United Nations while it continues to ignore UN demands to end the fighting in Gaza.
"How is such a country, which totally ignores and does not implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, allowed to enter through the gates of the UN?" he said.
Erdogan’s comments came hours ahead of Friday’s official visit to Turkey by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general.
The Turkish leader also added his voice to widespread condemnation of Israel’s bombing of a UN compound in Gaza on Thursday.
"The UN building in Gaza was hit while the UN secretary general was in Israel... this is an open challenge to the world, teasing the world," he said.
Diplomatic efforts to broker a ceasefire have intensified over recent days with emergency meetings being held in Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait and Egypt.
However, Friday’s emergency summit in Doha has highlighted divisions within the Arab world, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia declining to attend, preferring instead to send delegates to a separate meeting of foreign ministers in Kuwait.
The Palestinian political factions Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are also at the Doha summit.
Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Doha, said the delegates in Qatar recognise the legitimacy of the Gazan factions, whereas Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Western nations have sidelined them from ceasefire talks.
"You have two camps: The so-called moderate Arab countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, some Gulf monarchies like the UAE, and those who are trying to say that we totally disagree with the US attempt to implement a new Middle East."
Qatar summit: Key points
The following demands will be taken to Sunday’s Kuwait summit for pan-Arab approval:
Ahelbarra said the "moderate camp" is uncomfortable with Hamas’ ties with Iran and suspects that the Iranian leadership is using some Arab countries to further its influence in the region.
He said that the latter group believes it has the duty to convey the anti-war feeling of the Arab street and condemn Israel’s actions.
Talks are continuing in Cairo over an Egypt-sponsored truce, with Amos Gilad, the Israeli chief negotiator, telling Egyptian officials Israel wants an open-ended ceasefire.
Israel is demanding that rocket fire from Gaza ceases and that an international force is established to prevent weapons being smuggled into Gaza.
Hamas want Israeli troops to be withdrawn from the Gaza Strip immediately and for all border crossings into the territory to be permanently re-opened.
While Israel says it reserves the right to use military action if under threat, its emergency security cabinet is expected to vote on Saturday in favour of a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, according to news agency AFP.
By Friday morning, 1,155 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,200 injured since Israel launched its offensive on December 27. One third of the dead are children.