The Algerian ambassador’s comments come amid Morocco’s new momentum on Western Sahara in international community.
Rabat – Algeria’s envoy to Serbia has shrugged off the improved Morocco-Serbia relations, claiming that Morocco is peddling “lies” and inaccurate readings of a sensitive foreign policy issue — Western Sahara — to broaden its diplomatic outreach.
In an article published in the Serbian outlet Politika, Abdelhamid Chebchoub, Algiers’ ambassador to Belgrade, dismissed comments reportedly made late last month by his Moroccan counterpart in an interview with the same paper.
According to a report by Algerian state-run outlet APS, the Moroccan ambassador referred to the disputed territories in southern Morocco as “Moroccan Sahara.”
In response, Chebchoub accused Morocco of relying on “falsehoods” and “fallacies” to deceive readers and conceal its “colonization” and “occupation” of Western Sahara.
He argued, falsely, that Morocco’s stance on the Sahara question — both its Autonomy Plan and its historical claim to the disputed territory — is an affront to “people’s inalienable right to self-determination” and a distortion of UN resolutions.
The Algerian ambassador’s whitening response to what he sees as an “amalgamation of Kosovo and Western Sahara” comes amid perceptible signs of improved diplomatic dealings between Rabat and Belgrade.
As part of Rabat’s newfound Western Sahara momentum and its push to expand its diplomatic outreach, Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, visited Serbia in September 2018.
Bourita and his Serbian counterpart discussed, among other “matters of shared interests,” their countries’ converging views on territorial integrity, cooperation, and peace.
Visibly satisfied with the outcome of his visit, the Moroccan minister left Belgrade telling reporters that Morocco and Serbia “are in some kind of honeymoon.” He added that the two countries “have good dynamics” and are now seeking to “use [these] dynamics and further develop our relations at the level of strategic ones.”
In similarly warm comments, a statement on the Serbian government’s website recently spoke of the “great opportunities for improvement of relations with Morocco.”
On the broader diplomatic front, meanwhile, Chebchoub’s comments come amid what many observers see as a considerable Morocco-friendly turn in the diplomatic scramble over Western Sahara.
In recent years, Morocco has secured the endorsement of many countries on the Western Sahara dossier, including some European, African, and Latin American countries that had, until recently, been more receptive of the Algeria-backed pro-Polisario narrative.
In addition, the most recent UN resolutions on the issue have all acknowledged the “pragmatism” and “realism” of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
As far as Polisario and Algeria are concerned, however, the most frustrating development in recent months may have been reports that the US and some other Western countries are unlikely to adhere to the Algeria-Polisario stance on the convoluted Western Sahara issue.
According to reports, these countries fear the creation of a new country in the region would exacerbate insecurity in an already fragile and unstable Sahelo-Saharan corridor.