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Algerian minister denies shift in position over Western Sahara

November 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

The Algerian Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, has insisted that his country’s position on the Western Sahara conflict has not changed. “Algeria’s position on the Western Sahara conflict has not changed since the United Nations placed the region on the list of non-independent countries in 1963,” he said.

The minister explained that Algeria continues to abide by the UN position. “All UN resolutions since 1963 indicate that the solution is to decide the fate of the Saharawi people through a referendum. This was confirmed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week in a report which called on the need for negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front to find a solution for the Sahrawi conflict in accordance with the UN resolution.”

Messahel’s comments came after the Secretary General of Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front, Amar Saadani, said in an interview with An-Nahar TV that he had an opinion on the Sahara which differs from the party’s position. Saadani explained at the time that this was his personal position that does not bind the party to anything.

However, Saadani’s remarks were circulated widely, mainly by Moroccan newspapers, which claimed that they signalled a shift in Algerian support for the Polisario Front.