Algeria used a meeting at the AU to push a communique that is reminiscent of the time when Morocco was not part of the AU.
Rabat – Algeria on Wednesday used the AU to issue a commmunique with several problematic statements regarding Western Sahara. The document will have no impact on future AU policy but again highlights Algeria’s efforts to purposefully increase tensions with Morocco.
Algeria is facing intertwined crises on the domestic front, evidenced by the national Hirak protest movement. With its citizens decrying governmental inaction, Algeria’s foreign policy operatives have been occupied with trying to create a foreign foe to distract disgruntled citizens.
On Wednesday, Algeria used the 984th meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council to issue a communique on Western Sahara while Morocco was absent from discussions.
Algeria’s Smail Chergui used his position as outgoing AU commissioner for Peace and Security to publish a communique that pushes Algeria’s narrative on the Western Sahara conflict.
Couched in diplomatic language, the communique parroted Algeria’s talking points on “exploitation” of resources in Western Sahara.
Furthermore, the document appeared to push for a larger role for the AU by calling to “urgently take necessary steps for the re-opening of the AU Office in Laayoune, Western Sahara, in order to enable the AU to reactivate its role in the search for a political solution to this longstanding conflict.”
Algeria’s AU communique additionally promotes the discredited narrative of an active “hot war” in the region. The communique mentioned “the resumption of military confrontation between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Republic, in violation of the ceasefire agreements.”
The document calls on the AU Troika to “urgently revitalize its engagement with Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with a view to peacefully finding a permanent resolution to the crisis.” In the absence of any offensive military operations by Morocco, it still called on all parties to “immediately cease hostilities and engage in dialogue, create conducive environment for direct and candid talks.”
The press agency of the Algerian-backed Polisario latched onto what it described as a “strong” communique, publishing the document in full.
The AU communique appears to be taken straight from the era before Morocco rejoined the AU, when Algeria dominated the pan-African body’s narrative regarding Western Sahara.
Morocco’s representatives were absent from the March 9 meeting, an opportunity it seems that Smail Chergui did not want to miss. The circumstances in which the communique was produced means it is unlikely to have any practical consequences besides providing another example of Algeria’s attempts to provoke its Western neighbor.