The UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, met with Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf in Algiers. Neither party communicated about this meeting.
The information was revealed by the Italian press, which quotes sources familiar with the matter. This is the first meeting between Antonio Guterres’ Personal Envoy for the Sahara, and the new Algerian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Attaf.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat had to meet the new head of Algerian diplomacy because he was just appointed on March 16 to replace Ramtane Lamamra. Ahmed Attaf had not had any official functions within the Algerian government since the 90s under the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika who had put him in the closet.
As a reminder, Attaf is the 3rd Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs to be appointed since the presidency of Abdelmadjd Tebboune which began at the end of 2019. The post is one of the most important for the Algerian government since he directs the policy hostile to the territorial integrity of Morocco. However, this position has always been unstable and bears the brunt of the musical chair policy.
According to information from the Italian press, this meeting between the two diplomats was held in Algiers at the request of Staffan de Mistura who is trying to convince Algeria to return to the negotiating table regarding the Sahara issue.
The meeting “would have focused on the relaunch of the political process of seeking a solution to the Sahara dispute”, indicated the Italian newspaper TPI. And to add that it was a question of “the next resumption of the round tables, as well as the role of Algeria in this context”.
This information confirms two realities that Algeria is an actor whose “role” is major in the Sahara conflict and that it must invest in its resolution and that is what Staffan de Mistura sought to do.
On the other hand, the Italian media points out that the Italian-Swedish diplomat asked the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs to resume the political process through the negotiations of the “round tables”, the format chosen by the United Nations from which Algeria is withdrawing.
It should be noted that Algeria, a major player in the dispute, is blocking the process of the round tables and the work of Staffan de Mistura, responsible for relaunching this process of meetings between Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and the Polisario militia.
In 2021, Algeria had rejected UN Security Council resolution 2602 on the Sahara, on the pretext that it was “unbalanced” and “biased”. A year later, same scenario, Algeria again rejects the last resolution 2654, while in both cases, 13 members of the Security Council validated it and two countries abstained.