The final statement of the International Coalition Conference on Combating the Islamic State “ISIS”, which concluded on Wednesday in Morocco, opened the door to a new confrontation between Algeria and Rabat.
The Spanish newspaper “Larazon” said that the participants in the conference in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh “expressed their concern about the spread of separatist movements in Africa, which generate instability and increase the weakness of African countries.”
The phrase “separatist movements” was enough to anger Algeria, which saw it as a Moroccan targeting of the Polisario Front, which is demanding the separation of Western Sahara from Morocco, according to the newspaper.
On Thursday, Algeria issued a statement accusing Rabat of “political misinformation” and “deliberate confusion between support for liberation movements and terrorism.”
The Algerian statement went on to say that “Morocco’s stubbornness in promoting its dead initiative on a large scale, by resorting to its usual tricks in the midst of an international gathering to combat terrorism, has misled a number of participants, and highlighted the contradictions of some of them, which the Moroccan side aspires to exploit in the midst of its maneuvers. The absurdity aimed at distorting the issue of the Sahara, which was and still is a matter of decolonization under the responsibility of the United Nations.
The Spanish newspaper said that the concluding statement of the conference referred to “a link between separatist movements and terrorist movements.”
The participants stressed the need to address “the evolving threat posed by the Islamic State, particularly in Africa, by strengthening the capabilities of African members in the fight against terrorism and by strengthening international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.”
Algeria is the main supporter of the Polisario Front, which has a dispute with Morocco over Western Sahara, which the United Nations has classified among “non-self-governing territories” since the Spaniards left it in 1975.
Rabat, which controls nearly 80 percent of the territory of this vast desert region, has launched in recent years major development projects in it, and it is proposing to grant it autonomy under its sovereignty.
As for the Polisario Front, it calls for a referendum for self-determination under the supervision of the United Nations, which was decided upon the signing of the cease-fire agreement between the Kingdom and the Front in September 1991.