Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum has flown to South Africa in an apparent attempt to make sure of Pretoria’s support on the Western Sahara issue.
Algeria and South Africa, known as the biggest African supporters of the separatist Polisario Front, expressed their obstinate position on the Western Sahara territorial dispute on Tuesday, January 12.
During Boukadoum’s visit, the two countries called on the African Union (AU) and the UN to adopt a self-determination referendum as a solution to the Western Sahara conflict — a “solution” that the UN Security Council has not mentioned in any resolution since 2001.
The visit of the Algerian FM to South Africa came only two days after a senior US official delegation made an unprecedented trip to Dakhla, in southern Morocco.
The American visit, which many commentators considered as one of the most important breakthroughs for Moroccan diplomacy on the Western Sahara issue, seems to be one of the reasons why Algerian and South African diplomats met in urgency — Boukadoum’s visit was not announced ahead of date and was likely improvised after the US visit to southern Morocco.
During his visit to Pretoria, the Algerian FM met with his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, as well as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The meetings represented an opportunity for Algeria and South Africa to reaffirm their shared anti-Moroccan commitment.
According to a statement from the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Boukadoum and Pandor expressed their “deep concern about the escalation of military tensions” in southern Morocco.
The “military tensions” and the “ongoing armed confrontation” between Morocco and the separatist Polisario Front, however, only exist on Algerian-sponsored media.
Despite their denunciation by international outlets for fabricating fake news, Algerian state media continue to publish “updates” on a daily basis on the alleged war between Morocco and Polisario.
Based on the recent meeting between Boukadoum and Pandor, South Africa seems to also adopt the “war” narrative in order to twist the real situation in Western Sahara and persist in its challenge of Morocco’s territorial integrity.
In a joint communique published after the visit, Algeria and South Africa called for “the holding of a free and fair referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.”
Through their persistent attachment to the outdated proposal of a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, Algeria and South Africa are becoming more and more isolated.
Today, the Algiers-Pretoria axis is only followed by a dwindling cohort of African countries that still publicly challenge Morocco’s territorial integrity.
The latest evidence of the increasing irrelevance of the stubborn, Algeria and South Africa-led referendum axis was the two countries’ recent failures to change the African Union’s new, Morocco-friendly consensus on the Sahara question.