Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika renewed on Thursday his country’s commitment to the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination in the Western Sahara.
In a congratulatory message that he sent to Mohamed Abdelaziz, the leader of the Polisario Front, a Saharawi liberation movement, to mark the 38th anniversary the Declaration of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Bouteflika urged the international community to assume its responsibilities towards this situation experienced by the Saharawi people, and to accelerate its resolution within the UN framework.
Bouteflika stressed that “Algeria will remain true to its principles and will continue its drive to enable the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination, which will complete the elimination of colonialism in the African continent.”
More than 80 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia recognise the SADR, which is also a member of the African Union. However, Morocco still exercises sovereignty over the Western Sahara, an area rich in natural resources.
Algeria officially supports the self-determination referendum in the Western Sahara, as well as the Polisario Front, a stance that Morocco views as a challenge.
The tensions between Algeria and Morocco over of the Western Sahara have heightened in recent months, after Morocco withdrew its ambassador from Algeria in November 2013 over what it saw as a “provocation” by Algeria in reference to its call for the establishment of an international mechanism to monitor the status of human rights in the Western Sahara.
Morocco accuses Algeria of trying to make the Western Sahara an “Algerian affiliate” that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It also calls for bilateral negotiations with Algeria to resolve the dispute, but Algeria categorically refuses, stating that the case is in the hands of the UN.