Algeria says Israel backing Morocco over Western Sahara is 'flagrant violation of international law'

Algeria says Israel backing Morocco over Western Sahara is 'flagrant violation of international law'
2 min read
21 July, 2023
Tensions continue to rise between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara, now Algiers has said Israel's recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed region violates international law.
Algeria's foreign ministry strongly condemned Israeli recognition of Western Sahara [Getty]

Algeria on Thursday denounced Israel's backing of Morocco's "claimed sovereignty" over the disputed Western Sahara region as a "flagrant violation" of international law.

The Western Sahara conflict pits Morocco against Sahrawi separatists of the Algiers-backed Polisario Front.

The dispute dates back to 1975, when colonial ruler Spain withdrew from the territory, sparking a 15-year war between Morocco and the Polisario which seeks the territory's independence.

On Monday, the royal cabinet in Rabat said Israel had decided to "recognise Morocco's sovereignty" over the mineral-rich desert region, citing a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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The decision "constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, UN Security Council decisions and General Assembly resolutions on the Western Sahara question", the foreign ministry in Algiers said in a statement.

It "shows agreement between the occupiers' policies and their complicity in violating international law", and encroaches upon the "legitimate right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital and of the Sahrawi people to self-determination".

Rabat controls nearly 80 percent of Western Sahara and sees the entire region, home to abundant phosphates and fisheries, as its sovereign territory.

The Polisario continues to demand a UN-supervised referendum on self-determination, which was agreed in a 1991 ceasefire accord but has still not taken place.

On Wednesday, the Polisario slammed Israel's decision as "null and void" and said it would "only reinforce the determination of the Sahrawi people to pursue their national struggle on several fronts".

Algeria and Morocco have had no diplomatic ties since 2021 after months of tensions, and after Morocco normalised relations with Israel as part of a series of US-backed deals with Arab states known as the Abraham Accords.