Timeline Western Sahara

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1911        A group of South Africans took part in the Trans-Saharan Ostrich Expedition to claim the Barbary Ostrich from French West Africa. They then sold the expensive plumes to milliners in across American and Europe.
    (Econ, 6/4/11, p.95)

1974        A Spanish census was conducted in Western Sahara.
    (SFC, 4/24/98, p.A12)

1975        May, Spain moved out of Spanish Sahara and the native Sahrawi called for independence. Both Morocco and Mauritania laid claim to Spanish Sahara (Western Sahara) following Spain’s withdrawal. The Polisario Front, an armed nationalist movement, sought to turn Western Sahara into an independent state for its largely nomadic people.
    (www.africaaction.org/docs02/wsah0205.htm)(WSJ, 6/7/00, p.A1)(Econ, 9/24/05, p.56)

1975        Nov 6, Morocco occupied Western Sahara. King Hassan dispatched 350,000 unarmed Moroccans on a "Green March" to the former Spanish Sahara. This began a long war with the Polisario Front guerrilla group, tribal Bedouin who sought independence.
    (SFC, 5/7/97, p.C2)(SFC, 7/24/99, p.A9)(WSJ, 6/7/00, p.A1)(SFC, 11/27/00, p.A8)

1976        Sahrawis of Western Sahara proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
    (Econ, 8/28/04, p.76)

1988        Dec 19, Polisario Front fighters opened fire on two DC-7s chartered by USAID to spray for locusts over Morocco. One crashed, killing all five crew onboard.
    (AP, 6/11/13)

1991        A cease-fire was declared between the Polisario Front and Morocco. The 2 parties agreed on an all-or-nothing referendum to be held in 1998.
    (SFC, 5/15/96, p.A-10)(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A12)

1996        May 15, The UN closed its offices in Western Sahara due to a deadlock over election registration. 4/5 of Western Sahara is under Moroccan administration. The Polisario Front claims that Morocco is packing the electoral rolls with supporters having only tenuous links with the territory. Polisario has declared an independent republic and said this is recognized by more than 70 countries.
    (SFC, 5/15/96, p.A-10)

1997        The UN sent former James Baker, former US Sec. of State, to negotiate a new agreement between Morocco and the Polisario Front of Western Sahara, but Morocco rejected his plan.
    (Econ, 9/24/05, p.56)

1998        Apr 24, It was reported that the referendum on independence would be postponed until 1999 due to difficulties in counting eligible voters.
    (SFC, 4/24/98, p.A12)

1998        Oct 30, The UN extended its 460-member peacekeeping force in the Western Sahara over land contested between Morocco and the Algerian-based Polisario Front.
    (SFC, 10/31/98, p.A15)

2002        Nov 6, In Morocco King Mohammed VI said the call for a referendum in Western Sahara to determine whether the people want independence is "null" and "inapplicable," his first public dismissal of the plan first put forward in 1991.
    (AP, 11/6/02)

2003        Jul 12, Western Sahara's rebels unexpectedly accepted a peace plan for the mineral-rich region, but Morocco remained opposed.
    (AP, 7/12/03)

2003        Sep 1, A rebel group trying to win independence for the Western Sahara has released 243 Moroccan prisoners, some of whom have been held for nearly three decades. It was the first prisoner release since the UN Security Council voted in July to urge Morocco and the Polisario to accept a new plan to settle the long-running dispute over the Western Sahara.
    (AP, 9/3/03)

2004        Sep 15, South Africa formally recognized the pro-independence government in the annexed Moroccan territory of Western Sahara (Sahrawi statehood), prompting Rabat to recall its ambassador from Pretoria in protest.
    (AP, 9/16/04)(Econ, 10/30/04, p.53)

2004        Toby Shelley authored “Endgame in the Western Sahara: What Future for Africa’s Last Colony."
    (Econ, 8/28/04, p.75)

2005        Aug 18, Western Sahara guerrillas released their last Moroccan prisoners, 404 soldiers held for up to 20 years from a long-ended war over the barren but phosphate-rich region.
    (AP, 8/18/05)

2006        Mar 25, Morocco's King Mohammed VI wrapped up a 6-day visit to Western Sahara with talks on a plan to give the territory greater autonomy which will be submitted soon to the UN.
    (AFP, 3/25/06)

2006        Apr 22, Morocco's King Mohammed VI pardoned all prisoners from the disputed territory of Western Sahara currently being held in jails in the kingdom.
    (AFP, 4/22/06)

2006        Nov 27, Authorities of Western Sahara recovered the bodies of three children which washed up at a beach, bringing to 13 the number of migrant children who drowned when their small boat sank in the Atlantic.
    (Reuters, 11/28/06)

2006        Dec 5, Pro-Moroccan leaders in the Western Sahara presented a self-rule plan for a government, parliament and legal system in the territory, while acknowledging Rabat's sovereignty.
    (AFP, 12/6/06)

2007        Feb, In Western Sahara Muhammad Abdelaziz, leader of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, marked the 31st birthday of his would-be state. An estimated 165,000 Sahrawi refugees languished in Algeria subsisting on foreign aid.
    (Econ, 3/10/07, p.43)

2007        Apr 11, Morocco presented its plan to grant self-rule to the disputed Western Sahara territory to United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.
    (AP, 4/11/07)

2007        May 20, Police in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara arrested three leading human rights campaigners following weeks of crackdowns against students and activists in the territory.
    (AP, 5/21/07)

2007        Jul 2, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reissued a report on the Western Sahara that eliminated controversial recommendations on the future of the disputed region.
    (AP, 7/2/07)

2008        Jan 9, The latest round of UN-led peace talks between Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front ended in stalemate, with the two sides agreeing to try again in March to resolve a 32-year dispute for control of Western Sahara.
    (AP, 1/9/08)

2008        Apr 27, A summit aimed at kick-starting Maghreb economic integration was disrupted when Moroccan and Algerian government ministers clashed over the disputed Western Sahara region.
    (AFP, 4/28/08)

2008        Jun 30, The Socialist International (SI), meeting in Lagonissi, Greece, granted observer status to the Polisario Front, a group fighting for full independence in Western Sahara. The disputed Western Sahara region is largely controlled by Morocco, but the Algerian-backed Polisario Front is committed to securing independence.
    (AFP, 7/2/08)

2008        Sep 16, Malawi withdrew its recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), proclaimed by the Polisario Front in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. SADR was declared in 1976 by the Polisario Front, a rebel movement that wants independence for Western Sahara. Their a guerilla war against Rabat's forces ended with a ceasefire in 1991.
    (AFP, 9/17/08)

2009        Apr 11, Morocco blamed Algeria for a "serious and blatant" violation by the Polisario Front of an 18-year-long ceasefire in the disputed Western Sahara and urged the UN to intervene.
    (Reuters, 4/11/09)

2009        Nov 13, Moroccan authorities detained a Western Sahara activist close to the Polisario Front rebels, Aminatou Haidar, in the disputed territory's main city. Haidar, the winner of several human rights awards, was arrested on her arrival in Laayoune from Spain's Canary Islands. Immigration officials immediately sent her back to Spain’s Canary Islands after confiscating her passport. She used her Spanish residency permit to re-enter the country and began a hunger strike in Laayoune at midnight on Nov 15.
    (AFP, 11/13/09)(AFP, 11/21/09)

2009        Dec 14, Morocco charged that Aminatou Haidar, a Sahrawi activist on hunger strike in Spain's Canary Islands, is part of a "systematic, methodical plot devised by Algeria." Haidar (42) has been on hunger strike for almost a month on Lanzarote, after being refused entry to the Western Sahara, which is territory occupied by and claimed by Morocco.
    (AFP, 12/14/09)

2009        Dec 18, Aminatou Haidar, a Western Sahara independence activist, returned home after a 32-day hunger strike at a Spanish airport, defusing a diplomatic spat between Spain and Morocco and potentially strengthening separatist campaigners.
    (Reuters, 12/18/09)

2010        Nov 8, In Western Sahara a paramilitary gendarme and a fireman were killed and almost 70 people badly injured when Moroccan forces raided a camp outside Laayoune. A Moroccan raid to clear a refugee camp in the Western Sahara left at least 12 refugees dead and more than 700 wounded, while another 159 are missing. Moroccan authorities announced 11 deaths on their side after the clash.
    (AFP, 11/8/10)(AFP, 11/9/10)(AFP, 11/11/10)(AFP, 11/13/10)

2010        Nov 13, In Western Sahara a statement from the prosecution services in the territory's main town of Laayoune said 67 people accused of crimes against the security forces and destruction of public and private property had been arrested, seven of whom had been cleared. Moroccan authorities said they had arrested 96 people accused of inciting violence during the controversial police raid on a squatter camp near Laayoune.
    (AP, 11/13/10)(AFP, 11/13/10)

2010        Nov 25, European lawmakers voted in favor of an independent, UN-backed investigation into violence in Western Sahara that has left up to 11 people dead in the disputed territory.
    (Reuters, 11/25/10)

2010        Nov 27, Morocco’s foreign minister in a published interview rejected a probe into violent clashes between its security forces and residents of Western Sahara by the UN. A day earlier, Human Rights Watch said Moroccan security forces repeatedly beat and abused people they detained during disturbances in Western Sahara earlier this month.
    (AFP, 11/27/10)(AFP, 11/26/10)

2010        Nov 28, Hundreds of thousands of Moroccans demonstrated against a Spanish political party's criticism of their country's raid on a protest camp in Western Sahara.
    (AP, 11/28/10)

2011        Jan 12, Morocco’s interior minister said soldiers had turned a blind eye to the smuggling of weapons that were seized in the recent dismantlement of a terrorist cell with links to Qaida's North African branch. 5 Moroccan soldiers stationed in disputed Western Sahara were arrested for accepting kickbacks and allowing smuggled goods into the occupied territory.
    (AP, 1/12/11)(AFP, 1/13/11)

2011        Jun, UN Statistics Division said 70 territories would be holding censuses in 2011. Only Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara would fail to hold a count in this ten-year round.
    (Econ, 6/4/11, p.71)

2011        Sep 25, In Western Sahara 7 people, including two policemen, were killed in fighting that broke out after a weekend football match in Dakhla. On Oct 11 jail terms were announced for 11 people over their involvement in the clashes.
    (AFP, 9/27/11)(AFP, 10/11/11)

2011        Dec 14, European Parliament lawmakers blocked a deal allowing special access for EU fishermen to Moroccan waters, prompting Rabat to issue an immediate ban on European fishing boats. European lawmakers said they wanted to wanted to wait until the interests of Western Sahara trawlers were taken on board before agreeing to a 12-month extension.
    (AFP, 12/14/11)

2012        May 17, Morocco's said that it had lost confidence in veteran US diplomat Christopher Ross, the UN envoy on Western Sahara. Ross was forced to call off plans to carry out his first official trip to the disputed territory.
    (AFP, 5/18/12)

2012        Nov 7, Morocco's Interior Ministry said it has expelled 15 Spanish and four Norwegian journalists from the annexed territory of the Western Sahara for entering without permission.
    (AP, 11/8/12)

2013        Oct 20, In Western Sahara bloody clashes erupted between police and pro-independence protesters as a UN envoy wrapped up his latest visit to the disputed territory.
    (AFP, 10/21/13)

2013        Dec 7, Moroccan police violently suppressed a peaceful protest in the Western Sahara against a planned EU fishing accord with Rabat that covers the disputed territory's waters.
    (AFP, 12/8/13)

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