Algeria snubs Moroccan invitation, refuses to partake in talks over Western Sahara
Special envoy to the foreign ministry, Ammar Ballani, said Morocco’s invitation to Algeria to a roundtable on the Western Sahara issue was "outdated," in comments he made to the state-run Algeria Press Service.
This came in response to an invite by Moroccan diplomat to the UN, Omar Hilale, to meet at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit which was hosted by Serbia this year.
"Algeria's involvement in the so-called round tables is no longer on the agenda," clarified Ballani, as he claimed Morocco was trying to portray Algiers as being a party in the Western Sahara conflict.
"The (UN) Security Council resolutions explicitly specify which parties are involved, and that is Morocco and the Polisario Front. Algeria, like Mauritania… are two neighbouring countries observing," the situation, he added.
The official described Morocco’s proposal to establish autonomy in the Western Sahara region as an "illusory desire and a proposition doomed to failure," as he blamed Rabat for being behind any regional deterioration for not supporting a "just and final solution to the conflict through a referendum for self-determination."
Ballani renewed Algiers' call to launch a UN-mediated political process and "provide the necessary conditions for a situation prior to 13 November, 2020, a return to the original criteria for a political settlement and the launch of effective negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, between the parties involved in the dispute."
November 13 last year marked the latest escalation between Moroccan armed forces and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - represented at the UN by the Polisario Front – in the disputed desert territory south of the kingdom.
The clashes ended a 29-year ceasefire between the two sides, which had stipulated that a referendum on self-determination would take place. The vote was never held.
While Morocco controls some 80 percent of the Western Sahara, the rest is administered by the Polisario.
Rabat’s tense relations with Algiers have deteriorated since Morocco last year won Washington's recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for normalising ties with Israel.
Algeria on 24 August cut diplomatic relations with its neighbour, accusing it of "hostile actions" including using Israeli technology to spy on its officials, charges Morocco dismisses.
A month later it banned Moroccan aircraft from its skies.