Several international observers have recently condemned Algeria’s hostility towards Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara during the “Sahara Debate” program.
Rabat – Algeria’s hostile approach against Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, is generating criticism from observers worldwide.
After condemnatory remarks from French lawyer Hubert Seillan and senior Zambian official Gac Njapa Efrati, Greek university professor Dr. Nikos Lygeros also criticized Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front on the “Sahara Question” YouTube channel.
The expert spoke about the myth of the Polisario Front’s self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which he says exists only because of the support of the Algerian regime.
Contesting Algeria’s role as an ‘observer’
Algeria has been actively engaged in many symposiums and through its diplomatic channels in opposing Morocco and its sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The geostrategy expert said the Polisario Front is alive due to Algeria’s support, which attempts to “conceal its geopolitical scheme under a status of ‘observer state’ to the regional dispute.”
The Greek scholar said that Algerian maneuvers are “only a smokescreen intended to conceal its role as a main party to this dispute it has itself mounted from scratch.”
Algeria has long claimed itself an observer state rather than a main party to the conflict. Abdelmadjid Tibboune’s government claims that the conflict should be solely solved between Polisario and Morocco.
United Nations texts and resolutions, however, say otherwise.
UN Security Council Resolutions 2494 (October 2019) and 2468 (April 2019) reference Algeria five times: Three times in their preambles and twice in operative paragraphs. These contributed to the start of the current round-table process on the Western Sahara question.
Resolution 2440 of October 2018—which mentions Algeria three times in its text— also paved the way for the process.
Former UN Special Envoy Horst Kohler had called on Algeria to participate in his round-table talk initiatives, which also involved Morocco, Mauritania, and the Polisario Front.
In May 2019, Kohler resigned due to health reasons. The post for a special envoy for Western Sahara is still vacant.
The devolution of Tindouf authority to Polisario
Lygeros also criticized Algeria’s approach in granting the Polisario Front the managing role in the Tindouf camps. He described Polisario as a “militia to which [Algeria] has delegated sovereignty on part of its territory in violation of international humanitarian law.”
He said that the devolution of authority to the Polisario Front is a “grave violation of the provisions of the Convention on the Status of Refugees of 1951, which provides that the host state remains the primary holder of the obligation to protect the population in its territory.”
The Greek university professor also questioned Polisario’s legitimacy to represent Sahrawis.
This entity resides in the Tindouf camps “only thanks to the illegal devolution of authority on the Tindouf camps, which enables it to engage in systematic human rights abuses against a population that is held hostage,” he said.
The professor recalled the UN’s concerns regarding alleged human rights violations and Algeria’s devolution of Tindouf management to Polisario.
He said the UN Human Rights Committee in its “Concluding observations on the fourth period report of Algeria” condemned Algeria’s “de facto” devolution of authority to the Polisario Front.
For Lygeros, Algeria’s involvement in the conflict is unquestionable. He condemned Algeria’s refusal to allow a census of the populations of the Tindouf camps in violation of UN resolutions.
The significance of Morocco’s maritime border delimitations and role in the AU
The professor also emphasized the importance of Morocco’s decision to delimit its maritime space with Spain in terms of the Western Sahara question.
According to Lygeros, the delimitation is part of the “dynamic of the deepening of the Moroccanity of the Southern Provinces.”
It is in line with the new model of the development of southern provinces of Morocco that King Mohammed VI launched in 2015 to promote the socioeconomic development of the region, according to the geostrategy expert.
Morocco’s return to the African Union also formed an important part of the debate. Lygeros recalled Morocco’s steady commitment to the continent’s development under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.
He said Morocco has signed more than 1,000 bilateral cooperation agreements with African countries since 2000, in the fields of education and training, health, and sustainable development.
“Morocco brings to the African Union its expertise in the key fields of migrations, sustainable development, climate change, and combating violent extremism, which it shares without ostentation,” he stressed.