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The first solidarity sports week, co-organised by the town of Gonfreville-l’Orcher and the Saharawi Sports Federation (FSD), was launched on Monday 1-7 August 2022.

Considering the impossibility of the presence of the Member of the National Secretariat, Polisario Front representative in France, Mohamed Sidati, due to his participation in an urgent meeting of the National Direction of the Polisario Front, the launch of this event, the first of its kind in France, was supervised by the Deputy Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the French National Assembly, Jean-Paul Lecoq.

The councillor in charge of international relations and the culture of peace, Mr Martial OTT, the councillor in charge of sport, Mr André VALIN, and the head of the twinning committee, Mr Serge LEBRET, were also present at the inauguration on behalf of the authorities of the town of Gonfreville-l’Orcher. On the Saharawi side, Sidi M’hamed Ahmed, Polisario Front deputy representative in France, responsible for the Diaspora and the President of the Saharawi Sports Federation, Ahmed BabaYahya Bohubeini. The opening took place in the presence of members of the municipal council and various associations supporting the cause in the Le Havre region, presidents of associations and members of the Saharawi community in France, as well as representatives of the participating sports teams and members of civil society.

During the press conference, Jean-Paul Lecoq, a fervent supporter of the Saharawi cause, referred to the legal nature of the question of Western Sahara as a question of decolonisation from the point of view of international law. He also welcomed the resistance of the Saharawi people to the betrayal and failure of the international community to impose the application of international legitimacy.

In his speech, the deputy representative of the Polisario Front in France, responsible for the Saharawi diaspora, thanked the authorities of the town of Gonfreville-l’Orcher for their historic solidarity with the Saharawi people. He also welcomed the defence by Mr Jean-Paul Lecoq of the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. The Saharawi official shed light on the latest developments in Western Sahara, he also welcomed the presence of the Saharawi community and the effective role played by the Saharawi Sports Federation in preparing young people to serve their cause. The President of the Saharawi Sports Federation, for his part, underlined the role of sport in making European societies aware of the Saharawi question and considered that sporting diplomacy is a new mechanism to contribute towards shedding light on the struggle of the Saharawi people.

During this week, the Saharawi national football team will hold preparatory training sessions, visits to installations and venues in the city and two friendly matches on Thursday 4 and Saturday 6 August 2022.