Sahara: the Obsession of Algerian Diplomacy

Chakib Khelil, an Algerian former energy minister, has blamed France for its steady support to Morocco over the Western Sahara issue, confirming again Algerian leaders’ irritation whenever a country voices backing to the Morocco-proposed autonomy plan.

For Algerian officials, the Polisario is the demarcation point wherefrom they categorize their allies and their enemies. This is so, although Algeria repeatedly claims that it is not a party to the Sahara conflict. It seemingly forgets that the separatist movement owes its existence to Algiers’ financial, diplomatic and military support.

Algerian diplomacy is focused exclusively on the Sahara issue and targets any country backing the autonomy initiative. Just remember the media war declared by Algerian media against Senegalese officials and diplomats for their support for the Sahara autonomy.

Senegal, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, had welcomed the adoption late April of resolution 2285 on the Sahara. Its permanent representative to the United Nations had said the text was “certainly balanced” and was the result of “constructive consultations” among the Council members.

This position was reaffirmed on May 16 by President Macky Sall who said Senegal had “participated by a positive vote at the UN Security Council on the MINURSO.”

Senegal’s position on the Sahara issue is “a position that we assume. It is a historical position of Senegal and we will continue to pursue it,” insisted the Senegalese head of state.

The Senegalese President’s statement has most certainly irritated the Algerian politico-military leaders who will use their media as an exhaust pipe for their exasperation