STATEMENT ON WESTERN SAHARA before the Subcommittee on Africa of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives

by George M. Houser, American Committee on Africa
New York, New York
July 23, 1979
Publisher: American Committee on Africa
13 pages
Type: Testimony
Coverage in Africa: Mauritius, Morocco, Western Sahara
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Houser says his testimony is based upon his personal experience and that of his colleague Richard Knight. Houser says Knight visited the Western Sahara in March 1979 and he (Houser) spent two weeks there in May. Both visited refugee camps in Algeria where many Saharawi are exiled and also traveled with the Polisario inside Western Sahara. Houser says the population of Western Sahara has been displaced by the war now in progress for control of the territory and many live as refugees in neighboring Algeria. Rich phosphate deposits exist in the Bu Craa region of Western Sahara. Sixteen African countries recognize the Po1isario-formed government of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, and more than ten others recognize Po1isario as the legitimate representative of the Saharawi people. Houser says the issue of Western Sahara is clearly one of decolonization and the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination, and Morocco and Mauritania have no justification for annexing the Western Sahara without the consent of the Saharawi people. U.S. policy has contributed to destabilization of the region and is a major arms supplier to Morocco. Houser opposed the sale of Chinook helicopters to Morocco; instead the U.S. should stop all arm sales and encourage Morocco to withdraw and to recognize the independence of Western Sahara. • The Western Sahara • The Essential Issues • The International Aspect • The Polisario • The Military Situation • U.S. Policy
Used by permission Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa).
Collection: Private collection of Richard Knight