FOURTH COMMITTEE, CONCLUDING GENERAL DEBATE ON DECOLONIZATION ISSUES, HEARS PETITIONERS FROM WESTERN SAHARA AND NEW CALEDONIA

29 September 2000
GA/SPD/186

FOURTH COMMITTEE, CONCLUDING GENERAL DEBATE ON DECOLONIZATION ISSUES, HEARS PETITIONERS FROM WESTERN SAHARA AND NEW CALEDONIA

29 September 2000

Press ReleaseGA/SPD/186

FOURTH COMMITTEE, CONCLUDING GENERAL DEBATE ON DECOLONIZATION ISSUES, HEARS PETITIONERS FROM WESTERN SAHARA AND NEW CALEDONIA

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As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to conclude its general debate on decolonization, it heard statements by petitioners from Western Sahara and New Caledonia.

A petitioner from Western Sahara said he had witnessed widespread repression by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO) in the Tindouf refugee camps, and the organization's manipulation of the voter identification process. People were prevented from complaining to foreign visitors, and disciplined if they failed to comply with POLISARIO’s dictates.

Many people had died under torture and others had disappeared, he said, as he requested human rights organizations to conduct serious investigations into the refugee camps at Tindouf, Algeria. He also asked that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) speed up the repatriation of Western Sahara residents.

The petitioner from New Caledonia's Front de liberation nationale Kanak socialiste (FLNKS), recalling the 5 May 1998 signing of the Noumea Accord between that organization and France, said that by ratifying the Accord by the referendum of 8 November 1998, almost 72 per cent of the Caledonian people had agreed to a new institutional framework of evolving freedom over the next 15 years. By that vote, the Kanak people, who had become a minority in their own land, had demonstrated their political will to work with others in the interest of a common destiny.

During the general debate that followed, the representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the international community must continue to apply the standard of political equality to the self-determination processes of the small island Non-Self- Governing Territories. Flexibility must be applied in crafting solutions to the dependency dilemma of those Territories, but only in ways that did not legitimize, for expediency's sake, the present arrangements.

He said certain major activities of the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism had not been carried out, such as the creation of awareness programmes, visits to all the Territories by either the Secretary- General or his Special Representative, implementation of certain General Assembly resolutions, and comprehensive analyses of development and prevailing conditions.

Fourth Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SPD/186 7th Meeting (AM) 29 September 2000

The representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that six years after the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action, during the 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, there were still critical challenges to its implementation. They included the lack of adequate resources to meet the Programme’s priorities and responsibilities, especially in capacity-building, institution-building and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

Also speaking during the general debate were the representatives of Spain, Singapore, Libya, Chile, Bahrain, Fiji, South Africa, Venezuela, Namibia and Mozambique. The representatives of the United Kingdom and Morocco spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The representatives of Morocco, Gabon, Guinea, Senegal, Algeria, Papua New Guinea and France spoke during the hearing of petitioners.

When the Fourth Committee meets again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 October, it will take action on a number of draft resolutions and draft decisions relating to decolonization questions.

Fourth Committee - 2 - Press Release GA/SPD/186 7th Meeting (AM) 29 September 2000

Committee Work Programme

When the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to conclude its general debate on decolonization issues, it was expected to complete its hearing of petitioners from Non-Self-Governing Territories.

Statement

ELHASSANE ZAHID (Morocco), requesting time before the first petitioner, said that the press release in English covering yesterday’s meeting, had completely distorted what had happened in the Committee, and the headline was so partial that it completely prejudged those procedures. The headline was “Morocco Refuses to Cooperate on Western Sahara Settlement Plan, Special Political and Decolonization Committee told.” And the lead started with two paragraphs hostile to Morocco. The French Press Release began much more impartially.

It was true, he said, that those were not official United Nations documents, but they were supposed to reflect what happened in the Committee meetings. Instead, they distorted. He wondered why those responsible had not used a sentence of someone favorable to Morocco in the lead -- if it was because they were hostile to Morocco.

The United Nations Charter called for its officials to be neutral, he said. He called for an investigation of the problem, which was very serious. He had already gone to the people in charge and drew attention to the mediocre standards of the press releases. He thought that it could be a plot, and that there were people behind it. His delegation would speak to the Secretary- General. The situation was becoming intolerable.

Semakula Kiwanuka, Committee Chairman, said that his concern had been noted and that appropriate measures would be taken.

Statements by Petitioners and Questions by Delegations

AHMED CHERIF, petitioner, said that Algeria was not only keeping his people in a Spanish camp that was like hell, it had insulted their tribes and their leaders in the previous meeting by trying to prevent them from presenting their message.

As a former Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO) deputy chief, he said, he had participated and witnessed POLISARIO’S repression in the Tindouf camps, and its manipulations of the voter identification process. People were prevented from complaining to foreign visitors, and disciplined if not in line with POLISARIO’s dictates. Many died under torture, others disappeared. There was widespread conscription in the camps and infiltration by informants even into family units. Denouncement by informants could lead to secret detention and torture in the desert, he said. Women were submitted to the caprices of the nomenklatura and, if they refused, were subject to punishment.

He requested human rights organizations to conduct serious investigations in the Tindouf camps, and asked that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) speed up repatriation of the residents. There was pressure on the sheiks to not recognize anyone presented by Morocco within the criteria, even family members. That had prevented identification of thousands of those presented by Morocco.

Sheiks had been threatened with punishment if they didn’t submit, he continued. In addition, aid did not get to the children and others who needed it; one could see the provisions being sold in markets. He called for an investigation. He also had a list of hundreds of people killed by POLISARIO mercenaries through torture and hanging, which was just a small portion of those who had so suffered.

DOMINIQUE NKAZENGANY (Gabon) asked the petitioner about statements that the POLISARIO leaders were diverting the whole United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) process, and whether he had any information about that very serious matter.

Mr. CHERIF replied that, in meetings of the administrative structure and security personnel of POLISARIO, two lists were presented. The first were people who had to be recognized as being part of the Sahawari. The second were people who should be denied participation in the referendum because they were accused of voting in favor of reintegration with Morocco. That group included police security and others. Another meeting was held and people were told that MINURSO would give them falsified Koran that would not commit them to anything.

Mr. KIWANUKA (Uganda), Committee Chairman, requested that petitioners limit their response time to questions.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco), speaking on a point of order, said that it would be unfair for a petitioner to be limited by time as long as he was answering a question that had been asked by a member of a delegation.

MOHAMED BELAOURA (Algeria), on another point of order, said that petitioners had the right to speak for ten minutes and answer questions concisely. He requested that answer time not compete with other petitioners’ time and the other work that remained to be done on the agenda. The Committee had seen unlimited interventions and points of order that week. He requested that the petitioner answer the questions concisely.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco) said that it was possible that the representative of Algeria did not want to hear the information being given by the petitioner. If so, he should leave the room.

Mr. KIWANUKA (Uganda), Committee Chairman, appealed to the petitioner to answer as concisely as possible, limiting answers to five minutes, in order to facilitate the procedures.

BALLA MOUSSA CAMARA (Guinea) asked the petitioner to clarify figures on the population of the Tindouf refugee camps. It had been quoted as both 200,000 and 35,000 yesterday.

Mr. CHERIF said that the security section was asked to create thousands of names which had no basis. The POLISARIO had political goals for this. The first number presented by the Spanish speaker was baseless and in the interest of the POLISARIO. The true number was that provided by the United Nations following the identification process, between 42,000 and 46,000.

ABDOUL DEMBA TALL (Senegal) asked for clarification of POLISARIO violations of human rights in the Tindouf camps, asking for the numbers of people affected, and where and why POLISARIO had committed those violations.

Mr. CHERIF said that hundreds had suffered from torture and massacres. He listed army officers present at those events.

Mr. BELAOURA (Algeria), on a point of order, said that he had not impeded the petitioner’s statement. But he had no right to criticize and attack a sovereign State, especially one which supported the right of people to self- determination, whose revolution was a model for many other struggles for freedom. He requested the petitioner to abide by the rules.

Mr. KIWANUKA (Uganda), Chairman, requested that the petitioner refrain from making attacks on Member States.

Mr. CHERIF, continuing his response, said that the human rights violations took place in certain prisons. Women were tortured by POLISARIO and had to keep silent or their families were threatened. They were beaten with ropes, burnt, and their bodies were mutilated. They were placed on hot ground, bound with ropes and beaten with sticks with nails in them. He listed individuals who had carried out those acts. They had massacred hundreds of innocent people who were proud of belonging to Morocco.

Mr. BELAOURA (Algeria) objected to the time the petitioner was taking in repeating information contained in his statement. He asked the Chairman to apply the rules.

Mr. KIWANUKA (Uganda), Committee Chairman, said that the petitioner was responding to questions from the floor.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco) said that the petitioner had been interrupted many times in answering three questions.

PATRICK LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda) asked the petitioner where the mercenaries he had repeatedly mentioned were coming from, and from where were they getting their funding.

Mr. CHERIF replied that those in the Tindouf camps included people from various nations, including Mali and Mauritania, recruited by POLISARIO from the 1980s onward. AKBAR ALI THOBHANI said that the primary focus of his ongoing research, which was being financed by the Moroccan Government, was the social, political and economic transformation of Western Sahara since Morocco’s 1975 takeover of the Territory. It had a good road network and regular bus transportation. He had visited schools, health care facilities, agricultural projects, desalination plants and other socio-economic projects that demonstrated the immense transformation of Western Sahara over the last quarter of a century.

He said the Territory’s population was now about four times larger than it had been in 1975,and approximately 95 per cent of the population was urbanized. La’ayoun was one of the largest cities in the Sahara Desert. The people’s quality of life had been greatly enhanced due to massive educational, health and infrastructure improvements. The number of housing units constructed and provided to the people, at little or no cost, could be counted in the thousands. Urban commerce had become the most significant activity. Governmental administration, the mining industry and the fisheries sector were the major employers. The desert was being made more productive through irrigation schemes.

But among the negative features, he said, was the presence of slums in every urban centre. Though the authorities planned to relocate the slum- dwellers, the action was slow. Other negative features were a rapidly expanding population and rising unemployment, which was causing growing frustration, especially among the younger generation. One of the greatest tragedies was the separation of families. It was important that the United Nations explore all peaceful options to resolve the Western Sahara impasse. Residents could move around freely by public or private transportation. People felt safe and went about their business. However, there was increased security in La’ayoun. People felt more free to express their opinions.

Mr. BELAOURA (Algeria) noted that the petitioner had stated from the outset that his research had been financed by the Moroccan authorities and had, in passing, thanked the King of Morocco.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco) rejected that observation, saying that the representative of Algeria should not put words in the petitioner’s mouth.

Mr. THOBANI then clarified that his research had been financed by his university.

Mr. BELAOURA (Algeria) stated that he had not asked any questions, but had merely made an observation. There was no point in asking the petitioner to answer a comment.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco), on a point of order, said that the Algerian delegate had accused the Moroccan authorities of funding the petitioner, and that Mr. Thobhani had to make the truth crystal clear.

ROCH WAMYTAN, Front de liberation nationale Kanak socialiste (FLNKS), recalling the 5 May 1998 signing of the Noumea Accord between France and his organization, said that by ratifying the referendum of 8 November 1998, almost 72 per cent of the Caledonian people had agreed to a new institutional framework of evolving freedom over the next 15 years. By that vote, the Kanak people, who had become a minority in their own land, had demonstrated their political will to work with others in the interest of a common destiny.

He said New Caledonia possessed important natural resources, and major industrial studies were being carried out on nickel and cobalt deposits in the North Province. The recent discovery of gas hydrates raised hopes for medium- to long-term oil and gas exploration. According to available information, the nature of the oil deposits was similar to those found in Mexico.

The Kanak people would remain faithful to the Noumea Accord agreement and would make every possible effort to live up to its provisions. All sorts of action should be taken to implement the Accord. The Kanaks reaffirmed their solidarity with colonized peoples everywhere as well as their opposition to the dumping of hazardous materials and nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean.

PETER DONIGI (Papua New Guinea) asked whether the French National Assembly was likely to amend the constitution in order to comply with the Noumea Accord.

Mr. WAMYTAN said that the Constitutional Council had to meet and make a decision on the electoral roll for provincial elections in New Caledonia in 2004 and in 2014. Various points required clarification. There were indications that it might be possible in the first three months of 2001 to reexamine certain provisions that had not been clarified.

FRANCOIS-XAVIER CARELL BILLIARD (France) confirmed that the National Assembly had approved the FNLKS request on the constitutional amendment, which now required the approval by a joint session of the Assembly and the Senate.

Statements in General Debate on Decolonization

SILVIA CORTES (Spain) said she supported the declaration of a Second Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. In that effort, the occupation of Gibraltar was still a matter of great concern to her country. The position of Spain on this issue had been stated many times, most recently on 14 September, before the General Assembly. Gibraltar is a colony subject to the decolonization process, and to all relevant United Nations resolutions. Spain would not withdraw its rightful claim for sovereignty over it.

There had been no recent progress, and Gibraltar had become a problem for neighbouring areas because of its duty policy on goods. It had become a dumping area and was impoverishing its neighbours because of its financial and corporate systems. The security of the 300,000 residents of those areas had also been adversely affected by the military base. Spain was open to constructive dialogue on the issue and would work with the Committee to end that historical anachronism.

TEO HONG KOON (Singapore) said that his country's experience in achieving self-determination had shown the critical importance of human resource development in that process, particularly for countries that were not well endowed with natural resources. For that reason, since 1992, the Singapore Cooperation Programme had sponsored training courses and study visits for 12,000 officials from 132 developing countries, including 148 from eight Non- Self-Governing Territories. Last year, a large portion of participants attended courses in finance and information technology. The programme would continue to be updated to make it useful to Non-Self-Governing Territories and other developing entities.

The Committee, as part of redoubling efforts to end colonialism, should continue to prepare the Non-Self-Governing Territories for smooth transition to independence through international cooperation, he said. Therefore, Singapore continued to support implementation of General Assembly resolutions that called for study and training facilities to benefit the inhabitants of Non-Self- Governing Territories. He hoped Singapore's contribution in this area would help to foster stable economic growth for other developing countries and Non- Self-Governing Territories.

Mr. HAFIANA (Libya) said that his country attached special importance to the question of people still living under colonial rule. It supported independence for those people and called upon the Committee to redouble its efforts to secure that goal. It was hoped that economic assistance and fellowships would be given to colonized people in order to help to eradicate poverty, provide jobs, protect the environment of the Non-Self-Governing Territories and save resources from being squandered.

He said that the representatives of the colonized Territories should participate in seminars and conferences of United Nations specialized agencies, and that missions should be able to visit the Non-Self-Governing Territories to take stock of the situation in those Territories.

Only the peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories had the right to determine their future, he said. Libya supported efforts by the Special Committee on decolonization to terminate the colonial occupation of those Territories. Their people should be able to choose their own governments, in keeping with their traditions. The flow of resources to the Territories should be increased and military bases on their soil should not be allowed to become a source of tension and conflict.

PATRICK LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said CARICOM had a special interest in the seven small island Non-Self-Governing Territories in the Caribbean –- Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the United States Virgin Islands. They have already been systematically integrated into Caribbean institutions, and their development was regarded as critical to the sustainable development of the region as a whole.

Recognizing the experience of Territories in the Caribbean, CARICOM affirmed that political equality must continue to be the standard applied by the international community in regarding the self-determination processes of the small island Territories, he said. Flexibility must be applied in crafting solutions to their dependency dilemma, but only in ways that do not legitimize, for expediency's sake, the present arrangements.

Many important issues of the first International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism were addressed through the convening of regional seminars in the Caribbean and Pacific. The importance of continuing those seminars could not be overemphasized, even if the relevant locales were subject to criticism because they were seen as exotic tourist locations. Unfortunately, he said, other major activities of the first Decade had not been carried out, such as the creation of awareness programmes, visits to all the Territories by either the Secretary-General or his Special Representative, implementation of certain General Assembly resolutions, and comprehensive analyses of development and prevailing conditions. Lacking those last studies, Member States could not make credible decisions, particularly ones affecting the small island Territories. He asked the Secretary-General to direct the Special Committee to use regional experts to carry out the important research. He strongly endorsed a second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism.

Regarding the issue of Western Sahara, he regretted that nine years had passed since the endorsement of the settlement plan, which CARICOM delegations believe represented the best option. He looked forward to a positive outcome to upcoming talks and an early solution.

JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) recalled the achievements of the United Nations in the area of decolonization. He celebrated the mass participation of the people of East Timor in last year’s referendum; Chile had shown its support for such acts of self-determination by participating in UNTAET. And so, it repeated its appeal to the parties of the conflict in Western Sahara to quickly implement the stages of the settlement plan.

After a period of much decolonization activity, recent times had seen few countries achieving self-determination, he said, despite the past 10 years having been declared as the Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. A very valuable recent activity, however, had been the development of guidelines for determining the future aspirations of peoples of non-Self-Governing Territories. A concrete, 10-point process was created and he looked forward to its application on Pitcairn Island and American Samoa.

During the Second Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, he hoped the process could be applied to the remaining Non-Self-Governing Territories. Disputes should be solved through negotiation, but self-determination of the people was primary, and so the actual process could be varied. In Tokelau, New Zealand had cooperated well, and the people preferred to adopt their own rhythm. The administering Powers and the international community must offer all assistance needed to achieve self-determination, but must let the people themselves work out the way in which they do so.

Mr. ZAYANI (Bahrain) said that the decolonization Declaration had announced the beginning of the end of the colonial era. Over the past four decades, the majority of colonized peoples had thrown off the yoke of colonialism, thanks to their own efforts, and to those of the United Nations, in particular the Special Committee on decolonization. At the end of the first International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, the United Nations could be rightly proud of its achievements in decolonization.

He said that the Organization had constantly used every means at its disposal to eliminate colonialism and had never given up its efforts to achieve that goal. The United Nations had affirmed that the right to free oneself from hegemony was a human right, a fact that the heads of State and government attending the Millennium Summit had reaffirmed. Though the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism was coming to an end, he still hoped that the ultimate goal of a world totally free of colonialism would be achieved.

DUPITO SIMAMORA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that lasting peace, independence and freedom were inextricably linked to social and economic development. The call for the promotion of higher standards of living, employment, economic and social progress rang clearly in the era of rapid globalization, liberalization and interdependence -– an era that had already unleashed tremendous wealth and opportunity as well as enormous social and economic challenges. Against that backdrop, there was a need to consider the unique circumstances pertinent to Non-Self-Governing Territories, such as vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems and geographical isolation, as well as the need to promote the cultural traditions of the local populations.

He said that during the past decade, international forums had focused on matters relevant to small island developing States, many of which were Non-Self- Governing Territories. The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Barbados in 1994, had resulted in the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action. Yet six years later, there were still critical challenges to its implementation, in particular the lack of adequate resources to meet the priorities and responsibilities of the Programme, especially in the areas of capacity-building, institution-building and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

To sustain such an effort, he said, required integrated planning and cooperation in which the Special Committee on decolonization, United Nations agencies, and the administering Powers, as well as the peoples of the Non-Self- Governing Territories, participated together in a spirit of amity. In the contemporary world, there could be no alternative to international cooperation and the promotion of equitable partnerships to ensure the political and sustainable development of those Territories. ASEAN supported the annual regional seminars, which offered a useful forum for ascertaining the views of all concerned parties in reviewing the political, economic and social conditions of the Territories. It also provided a basis for devising appropriate mechanisms to fulfil the implementation of the decolonization process.

AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) said that the first Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism was coming to an end, with some countries still longing for the cherished values of self-governance and self-determination. A good number of those Territories were in the Pacific and their dreams of identity were subject to divergent positions. The task ahead was not easy. He commended the administering Powers who had cooperated well with the Committee, such as New Zealand in regard to Tokelau, and France in relation to New Caledonia.

He reiterated the position of his delegation, that the peoples of the Territories should themselves decide on their own political status through the method of referendum. The international community should, however, learn from events in East Timor and be prepared to prevent a repetition of the misery caused after the ballot there. In addition, most of the remaining Non-Self- Governing Territories were small island entities, each of which had its peculiar economic and environmental vulnerabilities. It would be disastrous if, before gaining independence, those new nations did not have the necessary human resource development and economic foundations in place. The respective administering Powers, therefore, had an obligation to ensure sustainability.

BEULAH NAIDOO (South Africa) recalled that, not so long ago, the Committee had addressed her country’s own liberation struggle. It was easy to lend support to the Saharawi people, because both they and the people of Morocco enjoyed good relations with South Africa.

She noted that the United Nations had expended considerable resources and remained keenly involved in the process of setting up the conditions under which the Saharawi people could determine their own future in a free and fair referendum. The process had not been easy, but steady progress had been made, most notably in completing the identification of eligible voters for the referendum. The Houston Agreements had received wide support, including that of the Security Council, and it was therefore time for the referendum to be held.

South Africa appreciated the Secretary-General's commitment and that of his Personal Envoy, James Baker, to address the causes for the delay in implementing the Settlement Plan for Western Sahara, she said. South Africa urged the parties to remain committed to their agreement, to afford the Saharawi people an opportunity to express their wishes in a free and fair process in the near future. Whatever the Saharawi people may decide in the referendum was their prerogative, but their right to decide remained inalienable.

DOMINGO BLANCO (Venezuela), supporting the statement made by Colombia on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the administering Powers had a special and inescapable responsibility in the case-by-case review of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

He said that in the case of Western Sahara, it had become possible to verify the progress being made towards resolving the dispute over that Territory. However, vigilance was necessary to ensure that indifference did not harm the peace process. Venezuela supported the self-determination referendum.

Venezuela was happy with last year’s referendum in East Timor and with the fact that democratic elections leading to independence would be held there next year, he said. However, he deplored the attacks in West Timor in which three officials of the UNHCR had been killed while carrying out humanitarian assistance to East Timorese refugees there.

He expressed support for Argentina in its sovereignty dispute with the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and South Sandwich. Venezuela stressed the need for dialogue and cooperation, and urged the governments of the two countries to initiate talks in order to achieve a peaceful and durable settlement of their dispute.

GEORGE LISWANISO (Namibia) said that his delegation was discouraged by the recent reports by the Secretary-General on the question of Western Sahara, which cast a shadow of doubt on the implementation of the settlement plan. Namibia could not support any other arrangement than the United Nations plan, certainly not any plan which sought to undermine the aspirations of the people of Western Sahara to independence.

He urged the international community not to abandon the people of Western Sahara and to intensify their support to the just cause of those people under the leadership of the POLISARIO, who were yearning for independence and nationhood. The referendum, like all peace processes, had its difficulties, but all that was needed was political will.

He commended the UNHCR on completing the pre-registration exercise for Saharan refugees. It would be insensitive, though, to ignore the wishes of the majority of them who had expressed their wish to go only to the area east of the berm, irrespective of their place of origin, due to security concerns. Incidents in September 1999 and March 2000 showed the brutal repression by Moroccan forces in the area west of the berm.

Mr. INACIO JR. (Mozambique) said his country was encouraged by the continuing dialogue and cooperation between the Special Committee on Decolonization and the administering Powers.

Mozambique welcomed the Fourth Committee’s efforts in helping to resolve the Western Sahara question, he said, and appealed to the two parties to refrain from actions that could undermine a smooth conclusion to the dispute. The question of the Saharawi people’s future had been on the Committee’s agenda for several years, and they deserved the right to decide their own destiny.

SARAH BAMBER (United Kingdom), speaking in right of reply to the statement by the representative of Spain, said that the British Government’s well-known position on Gibraltar had been stated in the General Assembly on 13 September. Similarly, she told the representatives of Chile and Venezuela that her country’s position on the Falklands had been stated in the same forum on 21 September.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco), speaking in right of reply to the statement by the Namibian delegate, said that considering that country’s membership of the Security Council, no one should know better than its representative that there was no brutal repression -- or any repression at all -- by Moroccan security forces in Western Sahara. A petitioner could be expected to make such statements, but not the representative of a Member State.

He reiterated his country’s position that the question of Western Sahara was not a decolonization issue, as the colonial era had ended with the departure of Spain. There was a process under way on that question.

Mr. KIWANUKA, Committee Chairman, proposed that in view of the late hour, the Committee should take action on the decolonization draft resolutions at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 October.

Mr. MESDOUA (Algeria) proposed that the Committee take up one or two drafts which could be quickly passed without causing problems.

Mr. ZAHID (Morocco) supported the Chairman’s proposal, saying that the drafts should be taken up in the order in which they appeared in today’s Journal. There was no reason to rush some drafts ahead of others.

Mr. KIWANUKA, Committee Chairman, ruled that the Committee would take up the draft resolutions next Tuesday.

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For information media. Not an official record.