Exercising the right of reply of the Kingdom of Morocco, following the provocative statement of the new Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, during the general debate of the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held in a virtual format on July 13 and 14, Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the UN, ambassador Omar Hilale, responded, in detail, to all the Algerian allegations on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.

In a note addressed to the Azeri presidency of the Movement, and circulated to all members, the Moroccan diplomat said he was deeply surprised by the choice of the Algerian minister, who addressed the issue of the Moroccan Sahara, during “his first statement in an international forum since his recent appointment” at the head of the diplomacy of his country.

Hilale stressed that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara, “which falls exclusively under the UN Security Council, was neither on the agenda of the meeting nor related to its theme. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of ministers focused exclusively on multilateral efforts to address pressing global challenges, including the health and socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ambassador noted.

In response to a pseudo “resumption of military conflict”, mentioned by the Algerian minister, ambassador Hilale stressed that “this fiction exists only in the propaganda statements of the armed separatist group, polisario, and the news articles of the Algerian press agency”, insisting that “whatever the Algerian Foreign minister may say, the situation in the Moroccan Sahara is calm and serene, as it is dutifully recorded in the daily reports of the Minurso and confirmed by the international media.”

Moreover, the statement of the Algerian FM is “totally out of phase with the reality on the ground in the Moroccan Sahara”, said the ambassador, recalling that the populations in the southern provinces of Morocco “live in peace and serenity and participate fully in the socio-economic development of the region, as well as in the political life”. In addition, “the recognition by the United States of Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara is reinforced by the opening of 22 Consulates General, of NAM member countries, in the cities of Laayoune and Dakhla,” he said.

Responding to the Algerian minister’s call for the appointment of a new Personal Envoy of the Secretary General for the Moroccan Sahara, ambassador Hilale pointed out that it is “Algeria and the armed separatist group it created, the polisario, that have refused several candidates proposed by the UN Secretary General.” It is therefore “Algeria and the polisario that are responsible for the delay in appointing the new Personal Envoy of the SG,” stressed Omar Hilale.

In reaction to the Algerian FM’s wish for a credible UN process, Omar Hilale recalled that “this credibility has been enshrined in the round-table meetings as a process, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 2440, 2468, 2494 and 2548”. What Lamamra “knowingly concealed”, revealed the Moroccan ambassador. He affirmed that “Algeria cannot shirk its responsibility, which it has finally assumed by participating, as a party, in the round-table discussions, since 2018”.

The Moroccan diplomat also noted that the Algerian minister “will not induce, insidiously, the members of NAM by trying to reduce the regional dispute on the Moroccan Sahara to two parties. Algeria is and remains the main party responsible for the continuation of this conflict, for more than four decades, through the armed separatist group, Hilale said. It is for this reason that the “UN Security Council has reaffirmed, in its successive resolutions since 2018, the responsibility of the four parties to the round-table meetings, including Algeria, to participate fully and remain committed, showing realism and a spirit of compromise, throughout the duration of the political process until its successful conclusion”, he noted.

Furthermore, Omar Hilale deplored the Algerian minister’s claim to the right of self-determination for a so-called “chimerical republic self-proclaimed in the Algerian capital, in violation of international law”. Also, “this phantom republic is only a fictitious entity, created, financed, armed and maintained by Algeria, in order to implement its regional geopolitical agenda”, Hilale added. He also pointed out that it has no recognition “either de facto or de jure”, “neither by the UN Security Council, nor the General Assembly, nor the NAM, nor the G77+ China, nor the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, nor the Arab League, nor the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, nor the Arab Maghreb Union”.

The Permanent Representative of the Kingdom to the UN concluded that the Algerian minister, who “stands as a fervent defender of the right to self-determination, denies this same right to the Kabyle people, one of the oldest peoples in Africa, who are under the longest foreign occupation”. Ambassador Hilale added that “self-determination is not an à la carte principle. This is why the valiant Kabyle people deserve, more than any other, to fully enjoy their right to self-determination”.