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M. Hilale: The Algerian ambassador is neglecting his Arab responsibilities at the Security Council in favor of his agenda on the Sahara in Caracas.

M. Hilale: The Algerian ambassador is neglecting his Arab responsibilities at the Security Council in favor of his agenda on Western Sahara

“There is a community in Algeria, the Kabyle one, which has been waiting for self-determination for over 150 years and which you are terrorizing, imprisoning and depriving of its freedom and its most legitimate right,” Morocco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, fired at Algeria at the C24 seminar currently being held in Caracas, Venezuela.

Confronting his Algerian counterpart Amar Bendjama about Algeria’s “obsessive fixation” on the Moroccan Sahara, Hilale charged, “You talk about the Sahara as if you weren’t responsible [for it]. . . . You’ve been here for three days just to read your speech on the Sahara.”

Hilale chided the Algerian Ambassador for “not assuming the responsibility for which the international community elected [Algeria] to the Security Council,” and for preferring to “give priority to your national agenda.”

The Moroccan Ambassador rejected Bendjama’s claim that his country was “anxious to resolve the Sahara question,” a claim it brings up every year at the C24. “You talk about peace, but you refuse to assume your role as the party responsible for a situation that has been going on for half a century,” scolded the Moroccan diplomat.

Responding to Algeria’s lingering calls for a referendum, Hilale asserted that the Security Council “buried that idea” a quarter of a century ago, in 1991.

107 states now support Morocco’s Autonomy Plan presented in 2007, and many have opened consulates either in Dakhla or Laayoune recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces.

Morocco’s Ambassador accused Algeria of blocking the UN process of resolving the Sahara issue, as Algeria “harbors, arms, finances, and promotes a separatist terrorist movement.”

“Who proposed to former personal envoy James Baker that the Moroccan Sahara be partitioned from the Kingdom in favor of your terrorist separatist movement in 2002?,” Hilale asked rhetorically.

After decades of unmet demands for recognition by Algeria, Kabyle leaders founded the Movement for Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK) in 2001 to seek autonomy.

In a dramatic development this year, Ferhat Mehenni, President of the Provisional Kabyle Government in Exile and leader of MAK, officially announced the “rebirth of the Kabyle State” on April 20 in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York. MAK then stated in its press release, “If Algeria persists in ignoring the legitimate demand of the Kabyle people for a referendum for their self-determination, Kabylia will gain independence by unilateral declaration in 2025.”

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