Emmanuel Macron, who paid this Wednesday a few-hour visit to Algeria, his first official visit as President of France, called on Morocco and Algeria to open “dialogue” for the settlement of the Sahara territorial conflict.


In an interview with Algerian dailies, including “Al Watan” and “El Khabar”, Emmanuel Macron said bluntly, when asked on France’s position on the Sahara issue, “our equidistant position on this issue is well-known. It has not changed. And it will not change”.


“The dialogue between Algeria and Morocco on this issue is essential” he insisted, saying that together and “with the support of the international community, your two countries must work to resolve this crisis. Its settlement constitutes a huge challenge for the integration of the Maghreb”.


The French President expressed hope that “Morocco and Algeria will overcome their divergence to build a strong, united and prosperous Maghreb”.


Macron’s remarks are seemingly not to the taste of neither the Algerian officials nor the Algerian media that have been defending, for over forty years, the Polisario separatists’ lost causes.


Besides, Algerian leaders and media are upset by the fact that the French President, months after he took power, has paid a very short visit to Algeria, likened to a mere stopover by some commentators.


In his statements to the Algerian media, President Macron did not mince his words and ignored the Polisario.


His position is actually in complete rupture with the line followed so far by his predecessors who used to call for a “mutually accepted political solution between Morocco and the Polisario” or expressed their support for “efforts of the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Sahara “.


In his remarks to the Algerian media, President Emmanuel Macron has been candid and forthright when he said that Morocco and Algeria are the two main sides concerned by the dispute over the Sahara and that its settlement is in their hands.