Spain and France have come to express their support for Rabat's autonomy plan for the southern conclaves of the Cherifian territory. Algiers, an unwavering supporter of the Polisario, which disputes Morocco's sovereignty over these conclaves, is impassive

After Madrid, Paris irritates Algiers

El ministro francés de Europa y Asuntos Exteriores, Stéphane Sejourne – PHOTO/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP
French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Sejourne - PHOTO/JUAN MABROMATA/AFP

In less than a week, Algiers has suffered two blows to its most sensitive point without reacting: Morocco and its sovereignty over its Saharawi lands.  

  1. A new stage in the rapprochement between France and Morocco 

On 21 February, the Iberian President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, declared Spain's support for the Moroccan national cause in Western Sahara. Six days later, it was Stéphane Séjourné's turn to reiterate France's 'clear and constant' support for Morocco's plan for the Sahara. 

Inexplicably, Algiers is adopting a diplomatic posture of silence after having long been aggressive and agitated whenever the slightest question of support for the Cherifian kingdom was raised in the latent war that Algiers has been waging against it for almost half a century.  

Meanwhile, its Foreign Minister, Ahmed Attaf, explained to the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera the warming of Algerian-Spanish relations due to "the 180-degree turn in Spain's position" on the Sahara issue. However, there has never been any talk of a Spanish U-turn. This was once again demonstrated by the Spanish President of the Governement, Pedro Sánchez, whom Algiers had hoped to see ousted in the last Spanish legislative elections.  

After a months-long dispute, Spaniards and Moroccans have reconciled - and in a big way! To the chagrin of the Algerian regime, the two kingdoms have decided to work side by side on strengthening trade ties, border security, the fight against drug trafficking and, of course, the joint organisation with Portugal of the 2030 World Cup. This is what is known as the great reconciliation. 

A new stage in the rapprochement between France and Morocco 

Paris is doing no less with Rabat. Long before his visit to Morocco, Stéphane Séjourné, head of French diplomacy, had announced his intentions. A few days after his installation at the Quai d'Orsay, he declared that he had received instructions from Emmanuel Macron to invest in Franco-Moroccan relations. Without wasting any time or beating around the bush, he undertook this investment in the form of a long-term partnership. Thirty years, as he stressed at a press conference with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita. 

This is a new stage in the rapprochement between France and Morocco. And what better way to put the quarrel that marked relations between the two countries not so long ago behind them than to reiterate Paris's "clear and constant" support for Morocco's autonomy plan for Western Sahara, assuring its will to move forward on this issue. "This is an existential question for Morocco. We know that (...). The time has come to move forward. I will deal with it personally", declared the French Minister.  

The least that can be said of the two Moroccan-Spanish and Franco-Spanish meetings is that the Moroccans know how to get angry in order to better reconcile with their strategic partners. This is far from being the case with their Algerian neighbours. The latter get angry and lose the path to reconciliation. They forget that every conflict ends with a solution that brings peace and serenity.

The current Algerian regime, which suffers from a chronic lack of diplomatic skills, tends to believe in the immutability of the positions of one side or the other and in the evolution of positions according to circumstances and interests. He also avoids debate and negotiation on sensitive issues. "He shows arrogance and contempt towards foreign states in the same way he does towards the Algerian people," says a former diplomat who has broken with the ban. "Sometimes, he feeds on these conflicts to call for sacrosanct national unity against the foreign enemy. As it does with Morocco and France," adds our source. 

Admittedly, the Algerian regime displays an irritating arrogance in its relations with several "friendly" countries. But when these countries ignore this impudence, Algerian leaders keep a low profile and timidly resume relations as if nothing had happened. This is what we see today in Algeria's position vis-à-vis the Spanish and the French, who, much to Algiers' chagrin, have a great love affair with their Moroccan "enemy". 

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