30 November 2018

Western Sahara: Trump Urged to Call for Morocco to End Illegal Occupation of Western Sahara or Hold Referendum Before End of Year

Washington, D.c. — A letter signed by American Voters and international human rights advocates, was delivered to the White House today calling for U.S. President Donald J. Trump to pressure Morocco to end its illegal occupation of Western Sahara or hold the long promised referendum before the end of the year. The letter circulated by the U.S. Western Sahara Foundation cited the strong parallels between the Western Sahara issue and the themes on which Trump campaigned for President when he spoke about the "forgotten men and women" and highlighted how corruption in government can lead to much suffering and unfairness. The Sahrawi are the forgotten men and women who have suffered because of corruption and broken promises over the long promised referendum.

"Republicans, Democrats and Independents joined in our appeal with great hope that President Trump could be the one U.S. President who could end this brutal occupation and bring freedom to Africa's only remaining colony," said U.S. Western Sahara Chair Suzanne Scholte. "He personally saw the corruption between Hillary Clinton and the Kingdom of Morocco, which currently occupies Western Sahara, during his Presidential campaign."

The letter also included a request that the Trump administration withhold any international aid from the United States of America to the Kingdom of Morocco until 1) all Sahrawi political prisoners are released from their unlawful detention; and, 2) the Kingdom ends its repeated and ongoing attempts to exploit the natural resources of Western Sahara. Appeals from the signatories and the full letter text are reprinted below.

A voter in Virginia wrote:

"Mr. President, You are the great liberator of our day. You are winning the battle against darkness, crime and evil! I believe history will remember you as one of our greatest presidents. Please use your power and authority to free the Sahrawi people from the brutal and disgusting Moroccan occupation. Thank you for all you're doing for our nation. God bless you, sir!!"

A naturalized American citizen and voter wrote:

"Dear Mr. President, I have left my country of origin to seek refuge in the USA, because I was persecuted by the Islamist fundamentalists, I have believed in you since day one and continue to admire your leadership. I'm proud to state that I have voted for you and will not hesitate to vote once again for you. You are a leader and I know that you believe in fairness. I have strong faith that you are well aware of the situation of the people of the Western Sahara and the suffering they endure daily. I'm imploring you, Mr. President to stop the aid to the Moroccan kingdom, and pressure the King of Morocco to withdraw from the Western Sahara and set its people free."

A voter in Georgia wrote:

"Dear Mr. President Donald J. Trump, This case is the case of "the under dog". It is a bully country taking over a small Spanish speaking country because they are rich in natural resources and have no one to stand up for them against the tyranny Moroccan King is a good friend of the Clintons. I have seen with my own eyes the refugee camps and children suffering in the desert because of the greed of the Moroccan King. Appealing and thirsting for Justice for Western Sahara, dear President Trump.

A voter in Minnesota wrote:

"Thank you for your heart of compassion and of the triumph of right over wrong in our world."

Supporting the petition in solidarity from abroad

An Englishman wrote:

"As a UK citizen I would welcome US action on an issue that European governments have failed to deal with. It is very simple to solve."

An Australian wrote:

"The Saharawis have been patient for a very long time and certainly deserve their referendum of self-determination now. Please give them active support."

A South African wrote:

"Dear President Trump, Good day. You have proven that you are a worthy leader because you are a man of action. Please kindly act for the referendum for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara to take place now. Thank you."

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

Dear Mr. President:

We are appealing to you to bring an end to the illegal occupation of Africa's last colony, Western Sahara. While we represent many diverse political views, we are all appalled at the fact that Morocco has been allowed to occupy Western Sahara for over 40 years despite the fact that all previous United States administrations as well as the United Nations and the majority of nations have agreed that the people of Western Sahara should be entitled to determine the future of their country. When you ran for President, you spoke often about the "forgotten men and women" and highlighted how corruption in government can lead to much suffering and unfairness.

The situation in Western Sahara is a stark illustration of exactly the sentiments you expressed during your campaign for President. Utilizing its vast wealth and resources, the Kingdom of Morocco has successfully obstructed the long promised referendum on self-determination first promised to the Sahrawi (the people of Western Sahara) by the United Nations in 1991.

Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975, and in 1991, after a 16 year war with the Sahrawi ended in a stalemate, the Kingdom of Morocco finally agreed to allow the Sahrawi to determine their future through a United Nations organized referendum. However, by pouring millions of dollars each year into lobbying efforts the Kingdom of Morocco has managed to block the successful implementation of this referendum.

We have this specific request of you: that you ensure the referendum of Western Sahara will be held in 2018 - and if that fails, that you call for Morocco to end their brutal and illegal occupation of Western Sahara.

Furthermore, we request that any international aid from the United States of America, which has provided generously to the Kingdom of Morocco, be withheld from the Kingdom of Morocco until 1) all Sahrawi political prisoners are released from their unlawful detention; and, 2) the Kingdom ends its repeated and ongoing attempts to exploit the natural resources of Western Sahara. We thank you for considering our petition and look forward to your response

All the names of the signatories and their personal messages were delivered to the White House but are not being released publicly to protect them from harassment and intimidation by Kingdom of Morocco's extensive lobby in the USA.

For further information, contact Suzanne Scholte at 703-534-4313 or visit http://www.defenseforumfoundation.org

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