Algeria claims that a solution to end the conflict requires negotiations between Polisario and Morocco.
Rabat – Algeria’s Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum has once again downplayed his country’s responsibility in the Western Sahara conflict.
On Saturday, Boukadoum called for “direct and serious” negotiations between Morocco and Polisario to find a solution to end the conflict.
Boukadoum also called on the UN to speed up the process of appointing a new special envoy for Western Sahara.
Algeria continues to have a hostile position against Morocco’s territorial integrity, describing itself as an observer rather than a main party to the conflict.
This rhetoric contrasts with the way Algeria described itself at the height of the Western Sahara Conflict from 1975 onward, Moroccan foreign policy expert Samir Bennis said.
For example, following the signing of the Madrid Accord between Morocco, Mauritania, and Spain on November 14, 1975, Algeria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdellatif Rahal, sent a letter dated November 19, 1975, in which he described Algeria as a concerned party along with Morocco, Mauritania, and Spain.
“In addition to Spain, as the Administering Power, the parties concerned and interested in the matter of Western Sahara are Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania,” he said.
In the letter, “the Algerian diplomat expressed vehemently his country’s rejection of the Madrid Accord and exasperation that it was not consulted by Morocco, Mauritania, and Spain prior to the agreement. Before the Green March, Algeria left no stone unturned and sent countless letters to the UNSG and held several meetings with both Spanish and Mauritanian officials in order to prevent an outcome of the conflict that did not align with its agenda,” Bennis explained.
Breaking the commitment that the then Foreign Minister, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, made to Morocco in July 1975, that Algeria supported Morocco’s efforts to regain sovereignty over its Saharan territory, th Algerian ambassador emphasized in the letter that the Madrid Accord was “null and void” from an Algerian perspective since Spain did not transfer its administrative power to the “people of the territory,” Bennis said.
Ever since, Algeria has repeated that the Madrid Accord was rejected by the United Nations, largely amplified by an uninformed, complicit media and Western academia.
According to Bennis, the truth could not be farther from that. Not only was the Madrid Accord never denounced by either Morocco or Spain, but it was ratified by the Spanish Cortes (parliament) on November 18, 1975, and registered with the United Nations Secretariat in accordance with Chapter 102 of the UN Charter.
In addition, no UN organization, including the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, have ever denounced the Madrid Accord or questioned it.
In its Resolution 3458/B of December 9, 1975, the General Assembly, “takes note of the tripartite agreement concluded at Madrid on 14 November 1975 by the Governments of Mauritania, Morocco and Spain, the text of which was transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 18 November 1975,” Bennis pointed out.
“Algeria has been adept at misleading the international public opinion by pushing a narrative around the defense of people’s right to self-determination. But historical facts are there and speak for themselves. The Western conflict would have been settled in 1975, had not Algeria taken control of the Polisario and weaponized against Morocco in its perpetual power competition against the latter over regional prominence in the Maghreb, Bennis said.
The UN has long called on Algeria to bear responsibility in the conflict through several resolutions.
The resolutions call on all parties involved including Algeria, Polisario, Mauritania, and Morocco to engage in the political process to end the conflict.
Security Council resolution 2548 of October 2020 specifies this responsibility by mentioning Algeria five times.
Algeria insists on defying UN resolutions, refusing to take responsibility in the conflict.
This is not the first time that Algeria has renewed its position against the UN-led political process.
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said “Moroccans want to make Algeria” part of the ongoing issue.
He claimed the solution lies between Morocco and Polisario, not Algeria.
Morocco’s government, however, argues that Algeria should fully engage in meaningful actions that will lead to a resolution of the regional conflict.
In 2018, King Mohammed VI addressed a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling on Algeria’s engagement in the UN-led political process.
“It is Algeria that hosts, arms, backs up, and brings diplomatic support for the Polisario,” the King said in his letter.
The tension between Algeria and Morocco escalated in recent months after the increase of hostile maneuvers from Algiers against Rabat’s internal affairs.
Algeria directly attacked Morocco after the US recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Algerian officials also expressed hostility against Morocco after its decision to establish ties with Israel.