Reiterating Algeria’s support for the separatist group Polisario Front, Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Abdelkader Messahel claimed that the Western Sahara conflict is a question that should be solved between Morocco and Polisario. Messahel reiterated that Algeria should not cooperate in finding a solution to the decades-long conflict.
On April 4, King Mohammed VI addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, calling on Algeria to fully shoulder its responsibility in the search for a solution to the regional conflict.
“It is Algeria that hosts, arms, backs up, and brings diplomatic support for the Polisario,” said the King in his letter, which was personally delivered to the UNSG by Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita in New York.
When asked about his opinion regarding the King’s letter during an interview given to French TV channel France 24, Messahel said that Morocco “claims” that the Western Sahara conflict is “a matter between Algeria and Morocco, whereas it is not the case. It is a case between Morocco and the Sahrawi people, and between Morocco and the decisions of the United Nations.”
“Negotiations” on this situation have always been between “the Polisario representatives and Morocco, it will not change,” he claimed.
Messahel went on to say that Algeria has responded to Morocco’s letter to the UNSG. In a statement published by Agence France Press (AFP), a source at the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “Algeria’s support of the Sahrawi people and its legitimate representative, the Polisario Front, does not mean that it should be involved in negotiations” between Morocco and the separatist group.
The Algerian Minister’s allegations stand in stark contrast to the statements made by several founding members of the Polisario, such as Bachir Al-Dkhil, a former Polisario official who fled the Tindouf camps and settled in Morocco. In an interview with Moroccan news outlet Yabiladi last March, Al-Dkhil said that in 1974, one year after the establishment of Polisario, Algeria took control of the front and used to serve its agenda against Morocco.
In the interview, Dkhil explains how the Algerian government seized the opportunity to hold the second Polisario congress in Algiers, in order to oust many of its founding members, including its first Secretary General Oueli Mustapha Sayed, and replace Saharawi representatives from the Tindouf camps in south-eastern Algeria.
“New people who had nothing to do with the cause of the Sahara were appointed to key positions, including a dozen men who formed the heart of the Polisario Intelligence Bureau. They were all Sahrawi Algerians from Tindouf and they controlled everything,” Dkhil is quoted as saying.
The former founding member of the Polisario said that Algeria’s goal is not the independence of the Sahara; it rather seeks to use this territorial dispute as a card to weaken Morocco.
“I repeat that the latter does not want the independence of the Sahara. It just wants to weaken Morocco and knows that if the Sahara gets independence, separatist demands will be born in the heart of resource-rich Algerian regions, such as Tindouf and Hassi Bechar,” he added.
Recently, regional tensions have escalated due to Polisario’s repeated provocative military actions east of Morocco’s defense wall. Morocco has been urging the United Nations and the Security Council to put an end to Polisario’s maneuvers in the region, emphasizing that the country will not hesitate to repel any further escalation from the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.
-Morocco World News