Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ALGIERS1027
2005-05-23 10:00:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

BOUTEFLIKA MESSAGE TO POLISARIO MENTIONS SUPPORT

Tags:  PREL WI MO AG 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L ALGIERS 001027 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2015
TAGS: PREL WI MO AG
SUBJECT: BOUTEFLIKA MESSAGE TO POLISARIO MENTIONS SUPPORT
FOR SAHRAWI INDEPENDENCE

REF: ALGIERS 1016

Classified By: Ambassador Richard W. Erdman, Reason 1.4 (b) (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L ALGIERS 001027

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2015
TAGS: PREL WI MO AG
SUBJECT: BOUTEFLIKA MESSAGE TO POLISARIO MENTIONS SUPPORT
FOR SAHRAWI INDEPENDENCE

REF: ALGIERS 1016

Classified By: Ambassador Richard W. Erdman, Reason 1.4 (b) (d)


1. (U) In a written message to Polisario Secretary General
Abdelaziz on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the
formation of the Polisario Front and published in the
Algerian press May 22, President Bouteflika has raised
eyebrows and Moroccan ire by mentioning independence for the
Sahrawi people. In the letter, Bouteflika noted the
importance of the upcoming Arab Maghreb Union summit to be
held in Tripoli May 25-26, terming it as important as the
summit that established the AMU in 1987, but also stressed
that he would go to the summit "faithful to our principles,"
including support for the Sahrawi cause. Going beyond his
usual description of the Western Sahara as an issue of
decolonization to be resolved in a UN framework, Bouteflika
wrote,"Algeria supports this cause and all the others, in
keeping with the UN Charter, with a view to helping the
Sahrawi people, just like all people, to regain their freedom
and their independence."


2. (U) The Algerian press May 23 reported Rabat's reaction
to Bouteflika's message. According to the Algerian
French-language daily El Watan, the Moroccan MFA issued a
statement declaring that Morocco "strongly deplores the
official declarations and positions that Algeria believed
necessary to express during the past few days regarding the
Moroccan Sahara." The Moroccan MFA statement reportedly went
on to note that the two countries "had decided, in March on
the occasion of the historic visit of His Majesty King
Mohammed VI to Algiers, to engage resolutely and sincerely on
the path of peace-making and normalization, while allowing
our national question (i.e. the Western Sahara) to find a
definitive solution within the framework of the United
Nations."


3. (C) Ambassador contacted Moroccan Ambassador Benrayane,
who said he was "astonished" and disappointed by Bouteflika's
message. Benrayane asserted that while Bouteflika normally
sends a message to Abdelaziz on the occasion of the
anniversary of the founding of the Polisario, this was the
first time Bouteflika had mentioned Sahrawi independence.
Benrayane was at a loss to explain Bouteflika's motivation,
especially since the publication of his message came only a
few days before the Tripoli summit.


4. (C) Comment: We are also puzzled by Bouteflika's
reference to Algerian support for Sahrawi independence,
especially in the context not only of the AMU summit but also
the decision reported reftel for Prime Minister Ouyahia to
visit Rabat in June to relaunch the bilateral committees.
Ambassador plans to discuss Bouteflika's message with
Presidential Chief of Staff Belkheir, and note our
expectation that Algeria remains committed to normalizing
relations with Morocco.


5. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.
ERDMAN