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  Issue No 64 Official Organ of LaborNet 28 July 2000  

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International

Western Sahara: Referendum Or War?


A June UN referendum in Western Sahara could have provided the people of Western Sahara a chance to exercise their right to self-determination and independence. It didn't.

Morocco's delaying tactics and the UN's inability to put due pressure on the occupying power have once again prevented the organization of the referendum. Kamal Fadel, the Australian representative of the Western Sahara independence movement the Polisario Front, fears this may lead to a resumption of hostilities, "We believe that if Morocco continues in its current irresponsible and provocative attitude a return to war is inevitable."

The referendum was originally to be organised in 1992 but has been delayed many times due to Morocco's fear of losing the referendum.

Despite the UN's efforts and the cooperation of Polisario Front, Morocco continues to sabotage the referendum under the pretext that thousands of Moroccan citizens are entitled to take part in the vote.

This conflict over voting entitlements is at the core of the disagreement. After a gruelling five-year identification process the UN published lists of those entitled to vote in the referendum in January of this year. Morocco has rejected the results of the voter identification process leading to an indefinite delay in the referendum process.

Former US Secretary of State James Baker III, has been working to break the stalemate in the UN peace plan. In May and June of this year he chaired talks between both parties in London. So far the talks have failed to produce any positive results.

On 20 and 21 July 2000, talks between delegations representing Morocco and the Polisario Front were held in Geneva under UN auspices, to attempt to resolve technical issues related to the referendum process.

Once again Morocco demonstrated its bad faith by refusing to seriously discuss these issues and on the second day refusing to attend the meetings.

Mr Fadel said, "Without the backing of the international community, the referendum is unlikely to go ahead. We call on the international community to put due pressure on Morocco in order to avoid a UN failure in Western Sahara and a return to hostilities."


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*    Find out more about Western Sahara

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*   Issue 64 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Greg Sword Unsheathed
The NUW national secretary is set to be endorsed as ALP Federal president next week. He talks about the relationship between the two wings of the labour movement.
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*  Unions: Phone Rage, Headaches and Stress
A comprehensive survey of the call centre industry conducted by the ASU has revealed an industry workplace culture dominated by excessive monitoring and stress.
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*  Economics: And the Winner Is .... Sydney?
Austrade chief economist Tim Harcourt looks at the export impact of the Sydney Olympics and asks if we'll win gold.
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*  International: Western Sahara: Referendum Or War?
A June UN referendum in Western Sahara could have provided the people of Western Sahara a chance to exercise their right to self-determination and independence. It didn't.
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*  History: The Union's Roots in Song
We look at some of the songs that kept working people going through their darkest hours.
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*  Media: Unchaining the ABC
The ALP needs to rethink our public institutions to determine how they might better deliver the ends for which they were originally established.
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*  Environment: Motorways Fail the Pollie Test
Our daily grind of congested roads, polluted air, and frustrated motorists is putting all and sundry to the test, and not least Liberal and Labor politicians.
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*  Satire: Murdoch Launches Bid for Under-9s Netball Team
Sydney's lucrative junior league netball broadcasting market has been shaken by a bid by one of the world's most predatory entrepreneurs, Rupert Murdoch, to secure ownership of the most successful team in the league.
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*  Review: Espionage a Trois
The Whitlams' brass section his teamed with some of the hippest cats in Sydney to make the sort of music you'll want to shoot baddies to.
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News
»  McMeanies Skimp on Olympics Pay
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»  Lawyers Pose as Students to Nail Workers
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»  Fiji Union Protests on Wednesday
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»  Casino Plumps for Penalty Rates
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»  AWU’s Push For The Bush
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»  Inquiry Lifts Lid on "SweetShops on Wheels"
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»  Fair Traders Call for World Where People Matter
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»  Accor Makes 'Cheeky' Olympics Offer
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»  Sacking Threat Was ‘Group Therapy’
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»  Doing It For The Love Of It
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»  Deadline to Vote in ARM Poll Approaches
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»  Grief Support for Workplace Tragedies
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»  Workers Invited to Mark Federation
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Viva Eavesdropping Jonesy
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»  Globalisation and Maintaining Our Lifestyle
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»  Crappiest Music Feedback
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