Rabat – Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Monday, Algeria’s Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel said that the Western Sahara conflict would be resolved only through an internal dialogue involving “the children of the same country.”
When asked by an APS journalist about the world’s crisis and conflicts, Messahel said “We have a course of action. It is the resolution of the United Nations, whether it is for the question of Western Sahara or for the situation in Syria or Libya.”
According to Messahel, such conflicts need an “internal” dialogue between “the children of the same country,” referring to the Sahrawis in Tindouf Camps as Moroccans.
“There are steps that are proposed at the international level, but we also openly believe in an internal dialogue,” he said, pointing out that “there is no solution outside an internal dialogue between the children of the same country.”
Commenting on Messahel’s remarks over the Western Sahara conflict, Moroccan political analyst and university professor Reda El Fellah said that, “This statement is really unexpected and sounds radically at odds with the Algerian Minister’s previous remarks.”
According to El Fellah, the Algerian minister of foreign affairs has finally come up “with some meaningful thoughts regarding the Sahara conflict. In his statement, he refers to the framework of international legality as it is set up by the UN resolutions.”
He added that Messahel’s remarks are an acknowledgment of Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory. “Messahel recognizes Moroccan political unity and its territorial integrity, said El Fellah, adding that the Algerian minister’s statement “withdraws the statehood juridical and political status from Polisario. According to him, Polisario leaders and Tindouf Inhabitants are Moroccan nationals just like any Moroccan.”
To reinforce his argument, the Moroccan observer said that “arguably, the UN normative framework of self determination limits this right to two cases: the first one to people under colonization geographically, ethnically, and culturally distinct from the colonial power (resolutions 1514 and 1541 in 1960), and the second to peoples subjected to racial discrimination, domination, and exploitation (Resolution 2625 in 1970).”
El Fellah added that the right for self-determination under normative UN framework “is already given to Sahraoui population” following Morocco’s Green March in 1975.
“To be sure, UN texts don’t give any right to secession. In fact, territorial integrity couldn’t be violated if the concerned country is conducting itself in compliance with the principle of equal rights and internal self-determination of its own people.”
Based on Messahel’s statement, El Fellah infers that Algeria is in charge of allowing “the inhabitants of the Tindouf camps to return back to their homeland. It confirms also that Sahara issue is an internal affair linked to secession or separatist goals. As a consequence, neither any country nor any international organization can interfere with the Sahara conflict. The first country which should abide by this honest reconsideration is Algeria.”
Algerian Press Hoax
In an unprecedented action, a group of Algerian press outlets, including APS, reported a fake news about Russia’s support for “direct negotiations over Western Sahara and Morocco.”
According to APS, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov made the following statement in a press conference attended by Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel: “Russia supports the holding of direct negotiations between the two parties to the Western Sahara conflict, namely the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front,”
However, this is statement is not accurate. After lauding the visa waiver agreement for diplomats between Algeria and Russian, Sergei called on the parties to the conflict to “respect the agreements signed” between them, referring to the 1991 cease-fire agreement, which has been recently violated by the separatist group.
The Russian minister also lauded the efforts of the United Nations on the Sahara question.
Below is the link to the full press conference: