The war of words between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara has taken on a new dimension with Algerian special envoy Amar Belani describing statements by the Moroccan ambassador to the UN as "irresponsible and ridiculous".
Omar Hilale had called for the "right of the people of the Kabylia region in Algeria to determine their destiny" after the Algerian ambassador to the UN, Nadir Larbaoui, called last Saturday for the right to self-determination for the "people of Western Sahara" and an end to "the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco". Larbaoui made his comments during a meeting of the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation — known as Committee of 24 — in Saint Lucia.
According to the official Maghreb Arab Press on Saturday evening, the Moroccan diplomat claimed that, "The people of Kabylia have been subjected to Ottoman, French and now Algerian colonialism." Why, he asked, does Algeria not allow the Kabylia people to decide their fate, express themselves and choose their destiny freely, in the same way that it demands for the residents of the Tindouf camps [the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara]?"
The Algerian ambassador responded by saying that, "Morocco is trying — hopelessly — to create a sense of uncertainty and to deceive the world by fabricating a parallel issue for the Sahrawi people's right to self-determination recognised by international legitimacy and relevant UN resolutions." He added that all Algerians, including the people of Kabylia, backed the National Liberation Front in the War of Independence against France. "Like it or not, Algeria is a single, indivisible republic."