Amina Salman has been elected to the post of permanent representative of the Arab Maghreb Union to the African Union (AU). This decision has left no one indifferent, and Algeria has not hesitated to describe the appointment as "reckless and imprudent". Algeria watched with resignation as its efforts to gain influence in the supranational organisation fell on deaf ears as Morocco won another victory with this recognition. Abdelmajdid Tebboune's government has taken steps in recent months to exert pressure on African countries and thus gain a capacity for influence in the organisation which, in view of the facts, has not been the case.
The war between Russia and Ukraine provoked a global energy crisis that Algeria tried to take advantage of to strengthen its economic muscle by raising gas prices. In this way, the intention was to attract the economically weaker countries and gain decision-making power within the AU. Far from achieving its objectives, Algiers has clashed with Salman's appointment, which, despite Algeria's insistence to avoid it, has ended up demonstrating the failure of Tebboune's intentions.
The President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, handed over credentials to Amina Salman, who is also the Director of Economic Affairs of the Arab Maghreb Union. Before taking up this post, Salman was Moroccan consul in Verona. With this appointment, the African Union, as communicated through its official website, aims to strengthen the role of the eight African regional economic groupings, whose role is key to achieving the objectives set out in the AU's Agenda 2063, especially in terms of economic development and innovation.
Observers consider the arrival of the Moroccan woman as the permanent representative of the Arab Maghreb Union to the AU to be a blow to Algeria's aspirations. Tension between the Moroccan and Algerian administrations has brought the competition for regional leadership to all areas. Hence, it was the Algerian Foreign Affairs Ministry itself that took a swipe at the secretary general of the African Union, the Tunisian Tayeb Baccouche, whose non-extendable mandate ends in August 2022, an argument used by Tebboune's team to disregard the decisions taken by the secretary general.
Moreover, Algiers claims not to have been consulted on this appointment, which it says was made "outside the rules stipulated in the treaty establishing the Arab Maghreb Union in February 1989". According to the Algerians, this decision requires the unanimous vote of the member states of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Maghreb Union, the only body endowed with the power to decide on this appointment. In fact, Algerian sources consulted by Al Arab have lambasted the president of the African Union Commission, accusing him of accepting a 'farce of a protocol', and thus submitting to 'a process of malicious manipulation, designed and implemented for purposes that in no way serve the interests of the Arab Maghreb Union or the African Union'.
Disputes between Morocco and Algeria have become a constant since the diplomatic rift in August 2021. And the worrying thing for the North African region is that, far from seeing a near solution to this ongoing confrontation, the situation seems to be getting tenser as time goes by. Tebboune defended the severing of relations as the only solution to 'avoid war', but that has not stopped him from repeatedly attacking Aziz Akhanouch's government. What is clear is that Algeria continues to run aground in its struggle to undermine Morocco's regional leadership, and the Alawi kingdom continues to strengthen its ties with important international actors, as represented by the appointment of Amina Salman.