Sahara: Algiers attempts to short-circuit the UN and Rabat’s strategic allies

lamamraAlgerian diplomacy is in a race against the clock in its attempts to undermine Morocco’s excellent relations with its main strategic allies, mainly France and the United States, on the eve of a UN Security Council decisive meeting on the Sahara conflict opposing the two North African neighboring countries.

Two days before the trip of the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, to Morocco, the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, flew on Tuesday, April 7, to Paris for a meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

Officially, the talks dealt with “political and security issues in the Sahel-Sahara region.” No other details were disclosed about the contents of the Algerian-French talks but it goes without saying that the Moroccan Sahara issue, a top concern for Algerian rulers who blindly support the Polisario Front’s independence claims, was brought up during the talks.

Algeria has also tried to use the African Union to short-circuit the UN, prompting the Pan-African organization to name its own special envoy for Western Sahara, in the person of former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.

But all this failed to have any impact on France’s immutable stand on the Western Sahara issue. Actually, the French Prime Minister has reaffirmed clearly on Thursday, during his visit to Morocco that “France is Morocco’s political ally in all realms, including with regard to the Sahara issue.”

In his race against the clock, the Algerian Foreign Minister afterwards flew to Washington “coincidentally” on the eve of the third session of the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue co-chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry and Moroccan foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar.

Kerry reiterated on this occasion his country’s support to the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara, described repeatedly by Washington as “serious, credible and realistic.”

Lamamra seized the opportunity of a meeting with Kerry to praise what he described as the “very important and constructive” mediation role that Algeria can play in the Maghreb and the Middle East, especially in the Malian crisis and the Libyan conflict.

But the Algerian official failed to tell Kerry that the Algerian generals were training the Polisario militias to prepare them to go to war against neighboring Morocco.

But to his immense disappointment, Ramtane Lamamra, who seems to have put once again the Western Sahara issue on top of his agenda, has knocked at the wrong doors, both in Paris and in Washington. He has seemingly forgotten that these two powers, both member of the Security Council, have long time ago declared Morocco a strategic ally in North Africa and the MENA region.


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