A United Nations mission investigating conditions in the spanish Sahara for a referendum, visited the phosphate mines of Bu Craa on Tuesday (14 May).
SU UN Commission walk across tarmac from aircraft
GV UN delegates passing camel guard of honour
SV Head of Commission welcomed by officials
SV Camel Corps leaving airport
Travel shot UN Commission along crowded road
SV Spanish police guard on roadside
GV PAN from crowds on roadside to crowds waving rebel flag out-side UN Commissioner's hotel (2 shots)
PAN over town of Aaiun
Local shots & people in streets
GV Sahara assembly building
SV Armed police on Govt. building ZOOM OUT TO UN flag
LV & CUs Local people sitting in street (4 shots)
Initials BJB/1750 BJB/1820
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Background: A United Nations mission investigating conditions in the spanish Sahara for a referendum, visited the phosphate mines of Bu Craa on Tuesday (14 May).
The phosphate mines, one of the world's richest deposits, are being disputed by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania.
The Spanish Sahara, over half the size of Spain, has a meagre population of sixty-five thousand. Many of these are pastoral nomads.
The Spaniards rule this barren territory on the north-west coast of Africa. Until 1962, this desolate colony was unwanted. But after the discovery of the rich phosphate deposits, the neighbouring Arab states have been fighting for possession. Spain has already invested many millions on the mining operations at Bu Craa where the reserves could produce ten thousand million tons of phosphate annually for 150 years.
The United Nations mission, headed by Simeon Ake, of the Ivory Coast, represent the UN Decolonisation Committee. It is investigating conditions for a referendum on self-determination. Morocco and Mauritania have submitted the issue to the World Court in the Hague for a ruling.
Recently, commandos from a Saharan Resistance movement have clashed with Spanish military forces there. The resistance movement is pressing for liberation of areas under Spanish domination.
They criticise the Spanish referendum and say that thousands of Spanish troops have disguised themselves as civilians and military garrisons have been transformed into villages.
They claim the people of the Sahara had expressed their desires many times by sending representatives to Morocco to pledge their allegiance to King Hassan and to affirm their Moroccan character.