Algeria has been releasing similar statements to other African countries that have opened new consulates in Morocco’s southern provinces.
Rabat – Algiers has recalled its ambassador in Cote d’Ivoire for “consultations,” two days after Cote d’Ivoire opened a new consulate in Laayoune, southern Morocco, Algerian state media APS announced on Thursday.
Following dozens of statements condemning the opening of African consulates in Moroccan southern provinces, Algeria has now turned to other hostile moves to express frustration against Morocco.
On February 18, Cote d’Ivoire opened a consulate in Laayoune, reflecting its full support for the Moroccan position on Western Sahara.
The Ivorian minister for African Integration, Ally Coulibaly, described his country’s as a “sovereign act.”
“In foreign policy, as in other fields, we are careful not to give moral lessons, nor do we want to be told what to do or not to do,” said the Ivorian official.
The statement appeared to anticipate Algeria’s reaction to the new Ivorian consulate in the region.
The Algerian government, which supports the independence claims of the Polisario Front, has been condemning the recent decisions of some African states to open diplomatic representations in Western Sahara.
The Algerian government has continued to challenge Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
With the new Ivorian consulate, there are now seven consulates of African states in Dakhla and Laayoune in Morocco’s Western Sahara.
Similar to its other statements, the new reaction of Algeria describes Cote d’Ivoire’s decision to open a consulate as “a flagrant transgression of international law.”
“This kind of act from a founding member of the AU is a violation of the commitments resulting from the constituting act of the AU and a flagrant transgression of international law and of the resolutions of the Security Council and the Assembly general of the UN concerning the question of decolonization of Western Sahara,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Algeria said on February 19.
Following the condemnatory statement, the Algerian government announced the decision to recall its ambassador back to Algeria for consultations.
Cote d’Ivoire made its position clear, stressing the move “is a decision that we fully assume because it is part of our sovereignty (and) because it is in accordance with our interests and our values.” Coulibaly made the remarks after the inauguration of the consulate in Laayoune.
He said the act should not open controversy since the Ivorian position was clear before, and he reiterated support for Morocco’s 2007 autonomy initiative.
Algeria and the Polisario Front have issued similar statements against Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, the Comoros, the Gambia, and Guinea—countries that also recently inaugurated diplomatic representations in Western Sahara.
Algeria, for years, has claimed to be an “observer” and not a party to the Western Sahara conflict, asserting it does not have to be a main party in the process to find a political solution to the conflict. Morocco’s eastern neighbor, however, has long expressed support for the Polisario Front and its claims, which Morocco views as an interference in its domestic affairs and territorial integrity.
The consulate openings reflect the growing support for Morocco’s sovereignty over the region from countries throughout Africa.