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Morocco’s return to African Union may not alter Algerian support for separatists

Moroccan King Mohammed VI attends the assembly of the African Union (AU) [Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu]
Moroccan King Mohammed VI attends the assembly of the African Union (AU) [Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu]

A political sciences professor at the University of Algiers, Dr Abdelali Razzaghi, has said that his country would not alter its support for the separatist Western Sahara’s Polisario Front in neighbouring Morocco, after Rabat regained its membership to the African Union (AU) after a 33 year absence.

“There are constants in Algeria which include supporting Palestine and the Polisario Front and if we gave up on any of them, the regime will collapse within 24 hours, so I do not believe that Algeria will change its position,” he said.

Razzaghi predicted that Morocco’s return to the AU will transfer the dispute between Rabat and Algiers from a bilateral level to a regional level, with each side jockeying for continental influence.

Meanwhile, Razzaghi ruled out that the Moroccan king’s reference to the impasse experienced by the Arab Maghreb Union was extending an offer of dialogue with Algeria, saying: “I do not believe the king’s remarks about the Arab Maghreb Union refers to a request for direct dialogue between Rabat and Algiers.”

Algerian-Moroccan relations have been strained due to Algeria’s support for the Polisario Front and their separatist movement which seeks to carve an independent state out of the Western Sahara, which Morocco considers an integral part of its territory.

Morocco officially re-joined the African Union on Tuesday during the African leaders’ summit in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Morocco split from the then-called Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1984 after the group recognised the disputed Western Sahara territories as the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

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