A very lively exchange of speeches between the foreign ministries of Algeria and Morocco on the issue of Western Sahara took place on Monday, September 27, 2021 at the UN General Assembly.
Morocco regards this region as part of its territory, while Algeria supports the separatists from the Polisario Front and defends the idea of a referendum on self-determination for the Sahrawi peoples.
Ramtane Lamamra, the head of Algerian diplomacy, repeated it from the rostrum and did not take his word for it: “We call on the UN to take full legal responsibility towards the Saharawi people and assure them of their inalienable rights. To this end, the organization of a free and impartial referendum can enable the Sahrawi people to decide and dispose of their political future.The latter cannot continue to be affected by an occupying state that has failed in its international responsibility on several occasions.The Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination is indisputable, non-negotiable and indescribable. Algeria supports this context Decision of the Council of the African Union to organize direct negotiations between the Moroccan Empire and the Sahrawi Democratic Republic so that they share a place within the African Union. ”
While Algeria and Morocco severed diplomatic ties in late August, the tone does not seem calm. And the response from the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, was not long in coming: “The recent regional and local legislative elections had the highest turnout in the Moroccan region of the Sahara to reach 63% of the turnout. This record turnout is proof of calm in this region. “as well as the connection of the Moroccan Sahara to the territorial integrity of the Moroccan empire, we will not be able to reach a solution unless Algeria takes full responsibility.”
Tensions between the two countries are re-emerging while the UN still has to officially appoint a new envoy for Western Sahara. A position vacant since 2019 and the German Horst Köhler resigned.