Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has sent a congratulatory message to his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Al-Assad, on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of Syria’s independence.
In an address Bouteflika told Al-Assad:
On the occasion of the celebration of the 71st anniversary of its independence, I am pleased to address to you, on behalf of the Algerian people and government and on my own behalf, my warmest congratulations and best wishes, praying Almighty God grant you health and happiness.
The Algerian head of state expressed his wish to see the Syrian people “realise their aspirations” for reconstruction within the framework of national harmony and agreement and his “satisfaction with the level of relations” between Algeria and Syria.
Bouteflika’s words on behalf of Algerians has angered people who do not believe the president’s words represent their sentiments of Al-Assad and have since protested “not in my name” on social media against the representation.
Algeria’s stance on Syria is dictated by its strict anti-interventionist politics and has long advocated for a solution to be orchestrated by Syria and not the proxy actors who have aggravated the crisis.
In his message, Bouteflika also assured Al-Assad that Algeria is following “with interest” the developments in Syria, hoping to see the rounds of Syrian dialogue lead to a settlement of the crisis and the restoration of peace and stability “to which the brotherly Syrian people aspire”.
A fifth round of UN-backed Syria talks in Geneva last month between the rival Syrian sides ended with “no miracles” and another deadlock as the fighting in Syria rages on. Russia has called a meeting with the US and the United Nations next week in Geneva to discuss the peace talks further but only the UN has confirmed its attendance so far.
Russia and the US have been at loggerheads since Trump ordered a missile strike on Syria earlier this month in retaliation for a chemical attack by Al-Assad’s forces on civilians in Khan Sheikhoun.