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Algeria rejects Western Sahara roundtable talks

David T. Fischer (L), US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, and his wife Jennifer (R) stand before a US State Department-authorised map of Morocco recognising the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in Morocco's capital Rabat on December 12, 2020 [-/AFP via Getty Images]
David T. Fischer (L), US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, and his wife Jennifer (R) stand before a US State Department-authorised map of Morocco recognising the internationally-disputed territory of the Western Sahara (bearing a signature by Fischer) as a part of the North African kingdom, in Morocco's capital Rabat on December 12, 2020 [-/AFP via Getty Images]

Algeria has rejected attending roundtable talks on Western Sahara, considering the roundtable format "deeply unbalanced and counterproductive", Algeria's Western Sahara Envoy Amar Belani expressed on Friday.

"We confirm our formal and irreversible rejection of the so-called roundtable format," Belani asserted, warning that this format would thwart United Nations (UN) Envoy Staffan De Mistura's efforts.

Belani accused Rabat of trying to: "Evade the characterisation of the Western Sahara issue as one of decolonisation and to portray it as a regional, artificial conflict."

Meanwhile, Belani urged the UN to treat the issue seriously. "We must recognise that the risks of escalation are serious," he insisted. "Peace and stability in the region are at stake."

Tensions have mounted between Rabat and Algiers since Morocco normalised ties with Israel last year and won US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Algeria, which has long supported the Palestinian cause, cut diplomatic ties with Rabat in August over "hostile actions", including alleged spying on its officials.

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