Algeria’s External Interaction Network in its Regional Environment

EPC | 08 Jul 2020

Since the start of President Abdelmajid Tebboune’s term in office in December 2019, Algeria’s current interactions in its regional environment can be divided into three main circles: first, the Libyan circle with its recently experienced successive military and political developments; second, the African Sahel (Coast) circle which has become one of the circles constituting the most serious threats to Algerian security; and third, the Mediterranean circle that is of major strategic importance for Algeria, especially from the economic perspective.

Manifestations of steadiness and change in the current Algerian foreign policy

In terms of the constants of foreign policy, statements by President Tebboune have not reflected a significant change in the pattern prevailing since the years of the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. President Tebboune has underlined the priority of the interests of Algeria and its keenness to build relations of friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world. However, at the practice level, the foreign policies of President Tebboune have manifested a number of changes, as follows:

1- At the level of the pattern of foreign decision making, President Tebboune has demonstrated a clear tendency to adopt a “participatory” approach in the formulation of his foreign policy by consulting the National People’s Assembly with regard to foreign policy issues.[1]

2- Strong indications have emerged that a significant change at the level of Algerian foreign policy tools will be employed in the stage ahead. One of the draft constitutional amendments allows the President to deploy Algerian troops abroad in peacekeeping operations under UN supervision provided that the approval of two-thirds of the members of Parliament is obtained.[2]

3- At the level of the circles of attention, Algeria has become fully aware of the importance of its interaction with the issues of its immediate neighbourhood, particularly in Libya and the African Sahel.

4- At the level of the intensity of the interactions, the Algerian foreign policy has been witnessing a high level of interactions with its external environment that were reflected in President Tebboune’s participation in the Berlin Conference (19 January 2020) on the Libyan crisis,[3] the African Union Summit,[4] the visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (26 February 2020),[5] in addition to important visits by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sabri Boukadoum, mainly to Libya to meet leaders in Benghazi and Tripoli (5 and 12 February 2020).[6] Furthermore, Algeria has received many important visits, including those of the Turkish[7] and Tunisian Presidents,[8] the Italian Prime Minister,[9] the Emir of Qatar,[10] and the foreign ministers of Egypt,[11] Saudi Arabia,[12] UAE,[13] Turkey,[14] France[15] and Italy.[16]

Algerian interactions with local and international players in Libya: a new equilibrium

Since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune came to office, the Libyan issue has topped the priorities of the Algerian foreign policy. The output of Algeria’s network of relations with the various active powers in the Libyan arena has been the establishment of a “new equilibrium” whose political side is based on continuing to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli while ending the boycott of powers in eastern Libya. At the military level, it is based on refraining from providing direct military support to militias in western Libya, while turning a blind eye to actions carried out by Turkey and other countries in this respect to create a field balance with the Libyan National Army (LNA), so that Algeria would simply issue repeated statements regarding its rejection of all forms of external military intervention in Libya, which can have more than one interpretation.

1- Interactions with the powers of western Libya and supportive international powers

Since the start of the Libyan conflict, Algeria’s positions have been to seek to contain neighbouring areas and ensure that the conflict does not cross the border into Algeria. Accordingly, Algeria has continued over recent months its approach of supporting the GNA in Tripoli and converging with the powers supportive of that government. This was manifested in a number of interactions, as follows:

  • Continued convergence between Algeria and the GNA in Tripoli, particularly when Algerian President Tebboune announced, after a meeting (on 7 January 2020) with Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the GNA, that Tripoli constitutes a “red line” that he hopes would not be crossed. This policy is in line with the Algerian absolute rejection of the continuation of the military campaign started by the LNA in April 2019 to control the capital Tripoli.[17]
  • Algerian positive openness to Turkey that was one of the first countries to converge with President Tebboune through the visit by the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and subsequently by Turkish President Erdogan to Algeria (6 and 26 January 2020 respectively). This has developed the level of coordination between the two countries with respect to the Libyan issue. This was reflected in Algeria’s turning a blind eye to the rising Turkish military presence in Tripoli and Misrata. The rapprochement between the two countries over the Libyan issue was facilitated by the growing role of the Turkish economy in Algeria to record levels which enabled Turkey to become one of the biggest international investors in Algeria and transformed Algeria into one of Turkey’s major trade partners in Africa.[18] Despite the absolute Algerian rejection of providing direct assistance to the Turkish military intervention in Libya, Algeria has indirectly benefited from the Turkish intervention in Libya in terms of weakening the control of the LNA forces over the areas of southwest Libya which are adjacent to Algeria after Algeria has been one of the countries most concerned about the control by Field Marshal Haftar of those areas, especially after he expressly threatened Algeria to “transfer the war to its borders” in September 2018.[19]
  • The rapprochement between Algeria and Italy on supporting the GNA. This was reflected in the visit by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to Algeria on 16 January 2020. That rapprochement was largely the result of the common desire by both sides to downsize the future role of Field Marshal Haftar, which would achieve goals for the two countries that exceed the Libyan arena, considering that both countries seek to reduce France’s influence in Libya.[20]
  • One of Algeria’s important interactions with Italy and Turkey is Algeria’s reservation on the European Operation IRINI which was launched on 1 April 2020 to monitor the enforcement of the arms embargo on Libya.[21] Although the Algerian government did not directly comment on the Operation, the statements by the Algerian ambassador Smaïl Chergui, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, largely reflected the Algerian position. Chergui said that Operation IRINI lacks inclusiveness and transparency. This Algerian position was intended to ensure the continued balance of the military situation between the forces of the GNA and the LNA through the continued flow of arms shipments from Turkey, and to prevent France, which is a main partner with Greece in the Operation, from playing an effective role in the Libyan scene even as the tensions between Algeria and France witness increasing escalation.[22]

2- Interactions with powers of eastern Libya and supportive international powers

One of the drastic changes in the Algerian foreign policy in Libya has been the “sudden” opening up to Field Marshal Haftar and Chancellor Aguila Saleh in eastern Libya, which unveiled Algeria’s desire to present itself as a regional party with balanced relations inside Libya. Those interactions included the following:

  • Opening up channels of direct political communication with the military and political leadership in eastern Libya after years of complete boycott. These started after a visit by the Algerian Foreign Minister to Benghazi on 5 February 2020, and then a visit by Chancellor Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives, to Algiers and his meeting with President Tebboune on 13 June 2020,[23] which came one day after statements by the Algerian President in which he underlined that settlement in Libya will not be military. In an important press interview with a number of local media outlets, President Tebboune called on the Libyan actors to end the fighting, sit at the negotiating table, and reject the military solution. He announced that his country stands an at equal distance from all rivals. The spokesman of the Algerian Presidency had also previously announced that Algeria is ready to assume the role of impartial mediator to rid the Libyan people of its distress.[24]
  • The Algerian moves towards eastern Libya also came to avoid creating major disagreements with that sector’s regional and international allies. While Russia increasingly supports the LNA militarily, Russia has also been Algeria’s main arms supplier for the last ten years.[25]
  • The Algerian review of the path of the bilateral relations with Egypt which led to a relative improvement in relations between the two countries that was revealed by bilateral meetings that brought together the presidents of both countries in the Berlin Summit on Libya[26] and later on in the African Summit in Addis Ababa[27] and the visit by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri to Algeria (9 January 2020). This has recently resulted in the welcoming by Algeria of the Cairo Declaration for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Libya, which was voiced by the spokesman for the Algerian Presidency Mohand Oussaid Belaid on 8 June 2020.[28] In addition to the existence of an Algerian desire to avoid direct clash with Egypt in Libya, Algeria prefers the enhancement of the engagement of the countries immediately neighbouring Libya, including Egypt, in future efforts to settle the crisis. The Algerian President has underlined the principle that the external parties conflicting in Libya should leave the solution of the Libyan crisis to Libya’s neighbours, underlining that there is nothing wrong with Algeria’s meeting with “brothers in Egypt and Tunisia” in order to work on solving the crisis in Libya.[29]

Algeria’s interactions in the African Sahel circle

1- Interactions with regional actors

Prior to the illness of President Bouteflika, Algeria had been the most leading regional player in the Sahel region at both the security and political levels. With the early rise of the activity of terrorist organizations in the region, Algeria signed the Joint Military Staff Committee (CEMOC) Initiative, known as the Countries of the Field Initiative, with Mali, Niger and Mauritania, in the city of Tamanrasset in 2010. This was one of the first collective responses based on the logic of joint military action in the Sahel region.[30] Algeria also sponsored the agreement that was signed between the government of Mali and a number of armed Tuareg movements in the country’s north in 2015, which is a process that receives UN recognition and prominent international support.[31]

However, the decline of Algeria’s involvement in the Sahel region in recent years has opened the door for the erosion of its achievements after the rug was pulled out from under its leadership of the joint military efforts after the forces of the G5 Sahel were formed in 2014, comprising  Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania, with direct French support,[32] on the ruins of the Countries of the Field Initiative that became inoperative. Algeria also failed to play any effective role in sponsoring the peace process and provide support to the fragile ruling regimes in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Traditionally, Algeria does not favour opening two fronts of confrontation with Morocco and Mauritania simultaneously. That is why President Tebboune’s adoption of the hard-line approach towards Morocco from day one, which went as far as summoning the Moroccan ambassador in Algiers to protest against the offending statements by the Moroccan Consul in Oran,[33] enhanced chances of rapprochement between Algeria and Mauritania.[34] In addition, Mauritania’s regional approaches have undergone a significant change since the new President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani came to office in early August 2019, which began with inviting representatives of the Polisario Front to his inauguration ceremony in an unexpected sign that involved negative messages for Morocco and positive messages for Algeria.[35]      

One of the important changes witnessed by the African Sahel region has been the growing Egyptian role in supporting counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel. While Algeria deals with the external Egyptian roles with much sensitivity, the current scene creates real opportunities for convergence between the two sides on this issue in particular. The growing Egyptian counter-terrorism efforts in the African Sahel[36] could provide assistance to Algeria in countering a number of problems: first, the spread of terrorism in the Sahel and the possibilities of its expansion to the Algerian interior; second, the exclusive assumption by France of the actual leadership of the counter-terrorism operations in the region; and third, opening the door to more active Moroccan roles in the Sahel region in the political and economic domains.

2- Interactions with international powers

Since 2013, the African Sahel region has become an open arena for the activity of numerous international powers, mainly France which initiated Operation Serval till July 2014, which was limited to northern Mali, before the launch of Operation Barkhane in August of the same year and which continues until today. This has greatly enhanced France’s influence in the region.[37]

Algeria does not welcome in its western neighbourhood this French expansion that does not seem to be limited by a time ceiling, especially in light of the hard-line approach adopted by President Tebboune in his relationship with France. That approach, in many of its aspects, supplements a path that had been started in recent years. Algeria had refused to take part in the conference to launch the G5 joint cross-border force in December 2017,[38] before Algeria was not invited to the Summit Conference of the Sahel countries in March of the following year.[39] While Algeria then invoked the constitutional constraint regarding the deployment of its troops abroad to justify its refusal to participate, subsequent positions revealed that the real obstacle to Algeria’s participation was the French leadership of the operations of the G5 force, after Algeria underlined its desire to incorporate the military operation into the “Nouakchott Process” that was launched by Mauritania as part of the African Union (AU) strategy in the region. This position was revealed during a meeting that brought together French President Macron and the former Algerian Chief of Staff Ahmed Gaid Salah in December 2017.[40]

The Algerian positions unwelcoming the French leadership of the counterterrorism scene in the Sahel region would drive Algeria to seek new mechanisms to enhance its role in the Sahel region, which is the first region expected to witness an Algerian military presence after the adoption of constitutional amendments that include, for the first time, a provision that allows the deployment of the Algerian armed forces in operations outside the country’s borders.

The new US approaches in the Sahel region contribute to supporting Algeria’s efforts to regain its role in the Sahel. This paves the way for significant future coordination between the two countries in the area of counterterrorism in the Sahel, particularly after the US has initiated the implementation of its plans to limit its military presence in the African Sahel region since 2017 whereby the number of US troops deployed in the African continent, in general, and the African Sahel region, in particular, has been reduced, where the percentage of actual reduction of the US Special Operations forces in west Africa is estimated at 25 percent and counting.[41]

One of the factors that would enhance Algeria’s capability to counter the French expansion in the African Sahel region is the close relations that Algeria maintains with Russia in the military and security domains. This would enable Algeria to access an additional source of support for its attempts to more actively re-position in the Sahel by benefitting from the strong Russian presence in contiguity to the region, mainly in the Central African Republic, and to a lesser extent in Democratic Congo and Sudan,[42] in addition to Russia’s implementation of military cooperation programmes with Chad[43] and its signature of large arms deals with Nigeria on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in October 2019.[44]

Algeria’s interactions in the Mediterranean circle

1- Delimitation of maritime boundaries with Italy, Spain and Morocco

In view of its geographical location, Algeria had not been a direct party of the rising rivalry in the Eastern Mediterranean for the determination of the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) that soon shifted from the economic domain to the political and military domains. Yet on the other hand, based on the contagion logic, Algeria was one of the first countries to ignite a similar rivalry in the West Mediterranean. In April 2018, the former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika signed a presidential decree to delimit Algeria’s EEZ that intersects with the economic zones declared by both Italy and Spain.[45]

Those maritime boundaries, which were declared by Algeria without any dialogue or negotiation with its two northern neighbours, intersect with the Ecological Protection Zone established by Italy in 2012 in the area west of the island of Sardinia.[46] They also intersect to a greater extent with the EEZ declared by Spain in 2013. Given the sensitivity of the issue, Italy has favoured to avoid raising a political crisis with Algeria, leaving the management of the disagreement to the open political channels between the two countries. While Spain initially adopted the same approach as that of Italy, it became more sensitive after President Tebboune came to power so that the Spanish Foreign Minister María González Laya announced, in February 2020, her country’s rejection of the content of the Algerian decree.[47]

The early Italian-Algerian coordination on the Libyan issue interprets the relatively flexible Italian approach in dealing with the issue of the Algerian EEZ in the Mediterranean. Official Italian sources have announced that preparations are made for an official visit to Algeria to discuss the maritime boundary issue.[48]

In January 2020, Morocco got involved in the escalation against Spain after the Moroccan Parliament ratified two bills to delimit Moroccan maritime boundaries and King Mohamed VI approved them in April. Accordingly, Morocco declared its maritime boundaries, including the areas off the coasts of the Western Sahara.[49] While the unilaterally proposed boundaries by both Algeria and Morocco do not intersect, and therefore are not expected to cause a direct dispute between the two countries, the tendency in recent years by both Algeria and Morocco to delimit their maritime boundaries with all their neighbours is seen as part of the scene of fierce rivalry between them, which is on the increase, particularly since President Tebboune came to power.

2- Position on the rising competition in the Middle East

The Turkish-Algerian convergence that was vividly clear in the Libyan issue can be extended to the issue of delimitation of economic zones in the Mediterranean, considering that the geographical considerations of the two countries have driven them to adopt legally identical positions based on the non-recognition of an exclusive economic zone for islands. This serves Turkish interests in terms of eliminating any economic zones for Cyprus and Greek Crete island.[50] It also serves Algerian interests in terms of the non-recognition of any economic zone with respect to the Italian island of Sardinia and Spanish Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera).

In addition to the legal dimensions that necessitate the convergence of the Algerian and Turkish positions, the economic dimensions enhance that convergence. Algeria is considered one of the potential countries to be affected by the rapid development in the efforts to regulate the utilization of the natural gas wealth in the eastern Mediterranean, especially after the establishment of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo early 2019,[51] and subsequently the announcement of the establishment of the East Mediterranean pipeline (EastMed) to transfer natural gas from Israel, Cyprus and Greece to Europe.[52] These developments come at a time when Algeria has fallen from second to third position on the list of natural gas exporters to Europe after Qatar and Russia.[53] These factors enhance the Algerian-Turkish convergence with a view to disrupting the chances of expansion in the extraction of gas from the East Mediterranean as much as possible. The Algerian position willing to hinder the operations of developing the gas extraction capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean was manifested in April 2020 when the Algerian company Sonatrach refused that the assets of Italian oil company Edison in Algeria be incorporated as part of a deal whereby the Greek company Energean would acquire some of Edison’s assets in the Mediterranean Basin, which was accepted by Egypt in November 2019.[54]

The intense tensions characterizing the Algerian-French relations appear in the background of this approach. France is one of the countries most enthusiastic to convince more Europeans to expand in importing gas from countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly after France has officially requested to join the East Mediterranean Forum in early 2020.[55] This approach is in line with the position expressed by France that it is one of the leading European countries to underline the importance of protecting Greek and Cypriot interests in the Mediterranean, which is evidenced by the severe disagreement between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on many issues.[56]

Algeria is greatly cautious about Egypt’s plans to become a regional hub for the liquefication and export of gas to Europe after Egypt had been one of the main importers of liquefied gas from Algeria before the major gas discoveries in northern Egypt. Algerian fears in this respect have been enhanced by the legislative amendments enacted by Egypt in 2018 which would allow Egypt to import gas from other countries for liquefication and re-export which paved the way to the signature by Egypt of agreements to this effect with both Israel and Cyprus.[57] Those accelerated Egyptian steps have - inadvertently - contributed to the convergence of the Algerian and Turkish positions with respect to the position on the East Mediterranean gas discoveries, especially that even if Turkey is granted the economic zone on which it agreed with the GNA in Tripoli, that area would not be sufficient for Turkey to constitute a threat to Algeria in the area of exporting gas to Europe, considering that the Algerian loss would be limited to losing a percentage of its direct gas exports to Turkey.

Conclusion

  • In the Libyan circle, Algeria has reached a new equilibrium point based on continuing to support the GNA in Tripoli while putting an end to the boycott of the powers in eastern Libya. It is also based on refraining from providing direct military support to the militias in western Libya while turning a blind eye to the actions taken by Turkey and other countries in this domain to create a field balance with the LNA.
  • In the African Sahel circle, Algeria seeks to enhance its involvement in the region to counter the challenges stemming from the activity of terrorist organizations and the transformation of the region into an arena for international competition among major countries, especially with the rising US withdrawal.
  • In the Mediterranean circle, Algeria has been one of the first countries to ignite a competition in delimiting the economic zones in the western Mediterranean, leading to the escalation of the disagreement among Algeria, Spain and Italy in this respect.  

Footnotes

[1] Atef Kedadra, “Tebboune seeks the “fatwa” [advisory opinion] of the Algerian Parliament regarding his foreign policy”, independentarabia, 29 May 2020. Available at: https://www.independentarabia.com/node/123241

[2] Alaeddine Bounajar, “Algeria’s new constitution: the creation of the post of Vice President and army intervention outside borders”, mc-doualiya, 8 May 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3ih25Vy; Younes Bourenane, “The Algerian army settles the controversy over its foreign tasks in the constitutional amendment”, al-ain.com, 3 June 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/algeria-constitution-army

[3] Ali Yahi, “Tebboune in the Berlin Conference: Between a formal participation and imposition of his plan to prevent the war in Libya”, independentarania, 19 January 2020. Available at: https://www.independentarabia.com/node/87771

[4] “President Tebboune participates in a closed meeting in Addis Ababa prior to the start of the African Union Summit”, officiale radioalgerie website, 9 February 2020. Available at: https://www.radioalgerie.dz/news/ar/article/20200209/189463.html

[5] “The Algerian President visits Saudi Arabia in response to an invitation by King Salman”, Al Arabiya, 26 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3i8toRU

[6] “Boukadoum presents in Benghazi Algeria’s initiative to mediate between Libyan parties”, Russia Today, 5 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2Bf9mot; “Sabri Boukadoum arrives in the Libyan capital Tripoli”, ennaharonline, 18 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2ZjPGI0

[7] “Erdogan’s visit to Algeria: anger and popular fears”, al-ain.com, 27 January 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/erdogan-s-visit-algeria-anger-and-popular-concerns

[8] “Kais Saied in Algeria: the Libyan crisis on the discussion table”, skynewsarabia, 2 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2VxWQXR

[9] “Conte in Algeria to discuss the Libyan crisis with Tebboune prior to the Berlin Conference”, euronews, 16 January 2020. Available at: https://arabic.euronews.com/2020/01/16/conte-in-algeria-to-discuss-the-libyan-crisis-with-taboun-before-the-berlin-conference 

[10] “Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in an official visit to Algeria”, France 24, 25 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3gc2RBm 

[11] “Sameh Shoukry arrives in Algeria to attend the meeting of Libya’s neighbouring countries”, akhbarelyoum portal, 22 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/31BhJVM

[12] “Foreign Minister Arrives in Algiers”, Saudi Press Agency (SPA), 6 February 2020. Available at: https://www.spa.gov.sa/2031324 

[13] “Algerian President receives Abdullah bin Zayed”, albayan, 28 January 2020. Available at: https://www.albayan.ae/one-world/arabs/2020-01-28-1.3763470

[14] “Algerian TV: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu arrives in Algiers”, Russia Today, 6 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/38dqfvt

[15] “Le Drian in Algiers: first visit by a French minister since the departure of Bouteflika and Libya at the heart of consultations”, euronews, 22 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/38dqfvt; “Le Drian discusses in Algiers bilateral issues and the Libyan file”, euronews, 13 March 2020. Available at: https://arabic.euronews.com/2020/03/12/french-fm-le-drien-in-algeria-to-discuss-libya-and-regional-issues

[16] “The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs begins a visit to Algeria”, Algerian News Agency, 9 January 2020. Available at: http://www.aps.dz/ar/algerie/82138-2020-01-09-09-07-07

[17] “Algeria denounces ‘acts of violence in Libya’ and considers ‘Tripoli a red line’”, France 24, 7 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/31qHN6d

[18] Turkey: Country Profile: The Observatory of Economic Complexity, https://oec.world/en/profile/country/tur/

-Algeria: Foreign Investment, Santander Trade Markets, https://santandertrade.com/en/portal/establish-overseas/algeria/foreign-investment

[19] “Haftar: I can transfer the war to Algeria”, Russia Today, 8 September 2018. Available at: https://bit.ly/3ieRMBk

[20] Mustafa Fetouri, “Italian-French Competition Over Libya Pushing Country Toward More Chaos”, Al-Monitor, 26 July 2018. https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/libya-elections-france-italy-control-competition.html

- -Jalel Harchaoui, "Too Close for Comfort: How Algeria Faces the Libyan Conflict", Small Arms survey Briefing Paper, July 2018, http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/T-Briefing-Papers/SAS-SANA-BP-Algeria-Libya.pdf

[21] Mohamed Meslem, “Algeria expresses reservations about Operation IRINI in Libya”, echoroukonline, 27 April 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2ZlCwKu

[22] On 31 March 2020, the Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned the French ambassador to Algeria to inform him of “Algeria’s strong protest” against the “false and hateful statements and the slander” against Algeria and its authorities in view of media materials broadcast by the channel France 24 on the exploitation by the Algerian authorities of the fight against coronavirus to achieve political goals. On 27 May 2020, Algeria announced that it has recalled its ambassador in Paris for consultation in response to a documentary that was broadcast by French channel France 5 which Algeria considered as offending to the Algerian people and state institutions, before the announcement of his return to Paris in mid-July 2020. See: Younes Bourenane, “Algeria summons the French ambassador in protest against a media campaign against Algeria”, al-ain.com, 13 March 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/1585678944; see also: “In response to the France 5 documentary: the Algerian ambassador to France recalled for consultation”, echouroukonline, 27 May 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2ZjO9l2

Regardless of the fact that the reason for this diplomatic boycott had been the broadcast of media materials, the sharp Algerian reaction reflects a degree of pre-existing motivation against France that was expressed by President Tebboune since his presidential campaign and also after his election in terms of his repeated invocation of the issues of French crimes during the colonial period. However, this state of affairs does not amount to entering into open enmity or the disruption of means of communication between both sides. The presidents of both countries communicated by phone on 3 and 27 June 2020 to discuss conditions in Libya. See: “Macron and Tebboune discuss the situation in Libya and agree on an ‘ambitious launch of bilateral cooperation’”, France 24, 3 June 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/31pqgv8    

[23] “Tebboune receives Aguila Saleh and promises to work on bringing Libyans together”, skynewsarabia, 13 June 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3eKNboD

[24] “The full interview by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune with mass media”, Echourouk news page on Youtube, 12 June 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOSG04TjN-8

[25] Richard Connolly and Cecilie Sendstad, “Russia's Role as an Arms Exporter: The Strategic and Economic Importance of Arms Exports for Russia”, Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, March 2017, p. 17, https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/publications/research/2017-03-20-russia-arms-exporter-connolly-sendstad.pdf

[26] “Al-Sisi and Tebboune to Berlin to participate in the ‘Libya Conference’”, skynewsarabia, 18 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2VyyCwN 

[27] “Al-Sisi and Tebboune discuss bilateral relations and the Libyan crisis in Addis Ababa”, Russia Today, 9 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3dMNmOE

[28] “Algeria welcomes Cairo’s initiative on the solution in Libya”, al-ain.com, 9 June 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/1591700897

[29] “Algerian President: we do not have expansionist or economic gains in Libya; we want peace”, Xinhuanet, 13 June 2020. Available at: http://arabic.news.cn/2020-06/13/c_139135840.htm

[30] Jacques Roussellier, “The Forgotten Maghhreb-Sahel Nexus”, Sada, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 31 October 2017. Available at: https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/74589; and also: Samir Gatt, “Strategy of Countries of the Field in countering security challenges in the Sahel”, Journal of African Studies and River Nile Basin, Democratic Arabic Center, Volume 1, March 2018. Available at: https://democraticac.de/?p=52962  

[31] “The Bamako government and armed groups sign a peace deal in Algeria”, Deutsche Welle (DW), 1 March 2015. Available at: https://p.dw.com/p/1EjRI; “Mali: The Algiers Accord is the ‘cornerstone’ for the stability of the Sahel, according to the UN”, Algerian News Agency, 9 February 2020. Available at: http://www.aps.dz/ar/monde/83444-2020-02-09-10-21-16 

[32] “G5 Sahel Joint Force and the Sahel Alliance”, France Diplomacy, Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères,  June 2019, https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/security-disarmament-and-non-proliferation/crises-and-conflicts/g5-sahel-joint-force-and-the-sahel-alliance/

[33] “Algeria summons the Moroccan ambassador after ‘offending’ statements attributed to the Kingdom’s Consul-General in Oran”, France 24, 14 May 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2YOWRZL

[34] “Sabri Boukadoum in an official visit to Mauritania”, ennaharonline, 9 June 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2CLk06v

[35] “For the first time: Mauritania invites the Sahrawi President to attend the inauguration of Ghazouani”, alakhbar: an independent Mauritanian news agency, 7 July 2019. Available at: https://alakhbar.info/?q=node/18841  

[36] Among those efforts are Egypt’s hosting since June 2018 of the Sahel-Saharan Counter Terrorism Center, the Egyptian call on the African Peace and Security Council to establish a unified African force to counter terrorism in the African Sahel, and the hosting of the meeting of the chiefs of staff of the G5 Sahel countries in February 2020.

[37] “Security in Sahel”, France Diplomacy, Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères, February 2019, https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/africa/security-and-the-fight-against-terrorism/security-in-sahel/

[38] “Algeria did not attend the Paris Summit on terrorism”, annasronline, 13 December 2017. Available at: https://www.annasronline.com/index.php/2014-08-09-10-33-20/2014-08-23-11-15-15/85656-2017-12-13-22-31-09

[39] “Sahel Countries Keep Algeria out of Security Meeting”, March 20, 2018, https://northafricapost.com/22775-sahel-countries-keep-algeria-security-meeting.html

[40] Jean-Pierre Séréni, “The Sahel: The dialogue dilemma between France and Algeria”, orientxxi, 19 December 2017. Available at: https://orientxxi.info/magazine/article2183 

[41] Eric Schmitt, “African allies face rising terrorism as U.S. pulls back”, The Philadelphia Tribune, March 1, 2019. https://www.phillytrib.com/nyt/african-allies-face-rising-terrorism-as-u-s-pulls-back/article_64d7c402-218b-5e86-8401-58c76a7f858b.html

Alyssa Farah, the Pentagon Press Secretary, had announced on 12 February 2020 the start of the withdrawal of combat troops with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division within weeks of the release of the statement. See: Jeff Seldin, “US Pulling Some Combat Troops Out of Africa”, Voice of America, February 12, 2020. https://www.voanews.com/africa/us-pulling-some-combat-troops-out-africa

[42] Hamdy Abdul Rahman, “A terrorist expansion: the African Sahel: where France Stumbles and Russia Rises”, Future for Advanced Research and Studies, 1 March 2020. Available at: https://futureuae.com/en-US/Mainpage/Item/5357/terrorist-threats-the-african-sahel-where-france-stumbles-and-russia-rises

[43] Heads of Military Departments of Russia and Chad Signed Military Cooperation Agreement at the Army 2017 Forum, Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, August 22, 2017,  https://eng.mil.ru/en/news_page/country/more.htm?id=12139347@egNews

[44] “Russia and Nigeria ink deal for delivery of Mi-35 combat helicopters”, Russia Today, 23 October 2019. Available at: https://www.rt.com/business/471604-russia-niger-helicopters-contract/

[45] “A presidential decree establishes an exclusive economic zone off Algerian coasts”, Algerian News Agency, 1 April 2018. Available at: http://www.aps.dz/ar/algerie/55057-2018-04-01-17-51-45

[46] “Italy Declares an Ecological Protection Zone in its Ligurian, Tyrrhenian and Sardinian Waters”, CIESM: The Mediterranean Science Commission, April 2, 2012, http://ciesm.org/news/mscience/020412.htm

[47] Atef Kedadra, “Spain and Algeria: disagreement on delimitation of maritime boundaries”, independentarabia, 23 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2NGz3AL

[48] Hacene Houicha, “After Italy, a confrontation between Algeria and Spain over maritime boundaries”, echroukonline, 21 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3eMu6SW

[49] Lahcen Haddad, “Dimensions of Morocco’s delimitation of its maritime boundaries and inevitability of dialogue with Spain”, Ashark Al-Awsat, 9 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3eM12Li

[50] Roxana Andrei, “The Cyprus Issue and Natural Gas in The Eastern Mediterranean”, Eurasia Review, September 3, 2019, https://www.eurasiareview.com/03092019-the-cyprus-issue-and-natural-gas-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-analysis/

[51] “East Med Forum Kicks Off in Cairo”, Ashark Al-Awsat, 15 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2YIiESI

[52] “Athens: Cyprus, Greece and Israel sign EastMed pipeline to supply Europe with gas”, France 24, 3 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/31u0OV7

[53] Ali Yahi, “Algerian gas without European markets? An official document reveals a frightening decline in exports during the first half of 2019”, independentarabia, 13 August 2019. Available at: https://www.independentarabia.com/node/48416

[54] Younes Bourenane, “Due to its activities in Israel, Algeria prevents the acquisition by Energean of the Edison assets”, al-ain.com, 4 April 2020. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/algeria-sonatrach-edison-energean-oil; “Greek Energean takes over Edison oil assets in Egypt”, al-ain.com, 5 November 2019. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/greek-energian-edison-assets-egypt-over

[55] “France officially requests to join the membership of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum”, skynewsarabia, 16 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3gPchmC

[56] Khattar Abou Diab, “List of disagreements widens between Macron and Erdogan”, al-Arabiya, 2 February 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/2AgfoEJ

[57] Ahmed Saqr, “The ‘energy hub’ dream gets closer: the gas of Mediterranean fields pours into Egypt”, al-ain.com, 26 July 2019. Available at: https://al-ain.com/article/energy-center-mediterranean-gas-egypt-prelude; “Israel starts to pump natural gas to Egypt under the most important deal since the adoption of peace”, France 24, 15 January 2020. Available at: https://bit.ly/3ieNiea

 

Latest Featured Topics