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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ALGIERS1243
2005-06-19 15:13:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

ALGERIAN RESPONSE TO MOROCCAN STATEMENT CANCELING

Tags:   PREL  PBTS  PHUM  AG  MO  WI 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ALGIERS 001243 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/19/2015
TAGS: PREL PBTS PHUM AG MO WI
SUBJECT: ALGERIAN RESPONSE TO MOROCCAN STATEMENT CANCELING
PM MEETING IN RABAT

SUMMARY AND COMMENT
--------------------



1. (C) Initial Algerian government reaction to Morocco's
cancellation of the June 21-22 meeting of the Algerian and
Moroccan prime ministers in Rabat has taken the form of
comments to the press by unidentified "diplomatic sources
close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs." These sources,
whose comments were carried in the official government daily
El-Moudjahid as well as other papers, termed the Moroccan
decision an "about-face;" reaffirmed Algeria's long-standing
readiness to develop bilateral ties with Morocco; cited
Algeria's willingness to proceed with the Rabat meetings,
despite orchestrated Moroccan press attacks against Algeria,
as evidence of Algerian goodwill; and pointedly noted that
Algeria has always been "present" for the construction of the
Arab Maghreb Union (AMU).



2. (C) More problematically, the diplomatic sources also
referred to "the inalienable right of the Sahrawi people to
self-determination and independence" -- the same provocative
formulation that triggered Mohammed VI's decision not to
attend the AMU Summit, Libya's postponement of the Summit, a
series of inflammatory press stories in both the Algerian and
Moroccan press, and heightened sensitivities on all sides.
While the use of this language in President Bouteflika's May
21 congratulatory letter to the Polisario might have been the
result of sloppy drafting and clearance procedures, the
repetition of this buzzword formulation in the wake of
Morocco's abrupt (and in Algerian eyes insulting)
cancellation of Prime Minister Ouyahia's visit to Rabat was
intentional and perhaps a measure of the extent to which
Algeria, at least for now, has given up on current efforts at
rapprochement. (End Summary and Comment)

ALGERIA TAKES NOTE OF GOM DECISION;
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD DO THE SAME


--------------------------





3. (U) The Algerian Foreign Ministry has so far not
responded on-the-record to Morocco's sudden cancellation of
the June 21-22 meetings in Rabat between Algerian Prime
Minister Ouyahia and Moroccan Prime Minister Jettou Instead,
unnamed MFA officials quoted on background in the press said:
"Algeria takes note of this new Moroccan about face and
expects that the international community will also take note
of this fact." These sources explained that, "The Algerian
position is marked by clarity and consistency on bilateral
relations with Morocco, the construction of the Arab Maghreb,
and on the issue of the Western Sahara. In effect, with the
Kingdom of Morocco, Algeria has incessantly declared its
availability to relaunch and develop bilateral ties of
cooperation in the spirit of brotherly and neighborly
relations to which it is attached. The planned visit of the

Algerian Head of Government to Rabat, despite a media
campaign orchestrated against Algeria, was yet more evidence
of Algerian willingness and availability."

ALGERIA STANDS READY TO CONSTRUCT THE ARAB MAGHREB UNION


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (U) On the construction of the Arab Maghreb Union,
continued the sources, "Algeria was present at every meeting
for this work propelled by the demands of history and by the
imperatives of common destiny, and it will always be present.
But at the same time, each party knows precisely the reasons
and responsibilities for the obstruction of Maghreb
construction for these already ten long years."

INALIENABLE RIGHT OF SAHRAWIS TO
'SELF-DETERMINATION AND INDEPENDENCE"


--------------------------





5. (U) "As for the issue of the Western Sahara," noted these
same sources, "it is the entire international community
which, through the United Nations, continues to await the
implementation of its (the U.N.) plan and its resolutions so
that the decolonization of the Western Sahara is achieved and
so that the Sahrawi people exercise, at last, their
inalienable right to self-determination and independence.
Algeria supports and will continue to support this
requirement to respect international law for the just and
definitive realization of the decolonization of the Western
Sahara."

"CLUMSY" AND "POLITICALLY STRANGE"
DIPLOMACY AN INSULT TO ALGERIA


--------------------------




6. (U) Algerian commentators noted that Morocco justified
the cancellation of the Prime Ministers' meeting because of
"the taking of positions in recent weeks by the Algerian
authorities which are in clear contradiction with the
objectives of bilateral normalization and rapprochement
between the two peoples and the Arab Maghreb Union." One
commentator complained that the Moroccans were using
President Bouteflika's May 21 letter to the head of the
Polisario as justification for the cancellation, when in fact
the Moroccans had already used this same letter to justify
the cancellation of the Arab Maghreb Union summit meeting in
Libya. While other commentators lamented this recent turn of
events, they stressed that Algerian-Moroccan relations were
not as bad as they were in the 1970s, leaving room for hope
that this latest storm would pass.



7. (U) More common were protestations of Moroccan disrespect
for Algeria; several commentators noted that Morocco's
attitude signaled the Kingdom's unrealistic insistence on
Algerian capitulation vis-a-vis its support for the Sahrawis
and Polisario. In despair, many commentators concluded that
Algeria should stand down from rapprochement with Morocco, a
process which, in their view, benefited Morocco more than
Algeria. Still other commentators noted that Hassan II,
"wiser" and "smarter" than his son (King Mohammed VI), would
never have behaved in such an erratic and insulting manner.
FLN Party Chairman (and Minister of State) Belkhadem,
speaking for many Algerians, summed up the Moroccan insult as
"politically strange" and "diplomatically clumsy."

ERDMAN