Algeria’s Former FLN Leader: ‘The Sahara is Moroccan and Nothing Else’

Algeria’s Former FLN Leader: ‘The Sahara is Moroccan and Nothing Else’

Former secretary-general of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) party Amar Saadani has strongly criticized his country’s position on Western Sahara.

Algeria historically backs the Polisario Front’s claim over Western Sahara.

In an interview with Algerian French speaking news outlet TSA, the Algerian politician condemned Algeria’s decision to back and finance the separatist group, who he thinks failed to “break the impasse.”

For Amar, the Sahara is “Moroccan and nothing else.” He said that his point of view is based in historical fact.

The 69-year old politician criticized the Polisario Front, stating that Algeria has been “pouring huge sums [of money] for the so-called Polisario for fifty years.”

He said that the relationship between Algeria and Morocco is greater than “this question.”

The politician hopes that the recent developments in the Maghreb region will help revive relations between its countries.

During the interview, Saadani said that the situations in Tunisia and Algeria are “favorable because there is the election of a new president and the change of Tunisia’s system.”

“Algeria is moving towards an election and a change of system,” he added.

Since February, protests have swept Algeria, calling for a radical political change and the removal of the Bouteflika era elites

Ammar emphasized that the question of the Sahara “must come to an end.”

Algeria, under the leadership of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the de facto leader, Gaid Salah- the Algerian army chief- have long backed the Polisario Front and its separatist ideology, which is against Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Algeria and Morocco have also shared icy diplomatic relations with the crisis over the closed border between the two countries since 1994. Algeria closed the border with Morocco after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens. Morocco’s decision followed a terror attack on the Atlas Asni hotel in Marrakech.

Morocco’s government, under the instructions of King Mohammed VI, has been calling on Algeria to engage in a dialogue to break the stalemate and re-establish diplomatic ties.

“I should like to say today, in a very straightforward and responsible way, that Morocco stands ready for a direct and frank dialogue with our sister nation, Algeria, in order to settle the transient and objective differences impeding the development of relations between the two countries,” said King Mohammed VI in his November 6, 2018 speech.

Amar echoed King Mohammed VI’s call for the restoration of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Algeria saying that both countries should open their borders.

“I think that the question of the Sahara must come to an end and that Algeria and Morocco must open their borders and normalize their relations,” Amar said.

He added that the “money paid to the Polisario, with which its members have walked around with in luxury hotels for fifty years” must he be invested in other Algerian cities.

“This is my opinion even if it displeases some [people],” he said.