The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs continues his tour of the countries of the Southern African Development Community. On January 12, Sabri Boukadoum paid a visit to South Africa, marked in particular by a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa.
On Wednesday, the foreign minister visited Lesotho where he had talks with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his counterpart Matsepo Ramakoae. The same day, Boukadoum flew to Angola for “a working visit”, he announced on his Twitter account.
Travel motivated by developments in the Sahara issue, a priority for Algerian diplomacy. “Regarding the conflict in Western Sahara, the two parties (Algeria and Lesotho) stressed the imperative for the African Union and the United Nations to work together to launch a real process policy capable of allowing the completion of the decolonization process, ”the Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The same message was hammered Tuesday in Pretoria.
This tour is part of Algeria’s preparation for the next African Union summit, scheduled for next month. The neighbor to the East fears the presentation during this conclave of a proposal requesting the suspension or even the exclusion of the “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)”.
What does the AU Constitutive Act say?
The choice and timing of the stages of this journey in southern Africa is, moreover, not fortuitous. The main supports of the Polisario at the continental level are located in this region of the continent. For the record, out of the nine AU members who openly opposed, on January 30, 2017, Morocco’s return to the continental organization, seven belong to this bloc: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana and Uganda. Algeria and the “SADR” completed the list. This shows the capital importance of the tour that Sabri Boukadoum has just started in the area.
Legally, the AU is empowered to exclude one of its members provided the request has the requisite membership of a necessary quorum. “Amendments or revisions” to the Constitution “are adopted by the Conference of the Union (the meeting of heads of state) by consensus or, failing that, by a two-thirds majority, and submitted for ratification by all member states, in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures ”, specifies Article 32 of the Charter.
As a reminder in July 2016, and on the sidelines of the Kigali summit in Rwanda, 28 African states had requested in a letter the suspension of the “SADR” of the activities of the African Union, and of all its organs, “in order to allow the AU to play a constructive role and to contribute positively to the efforts of the UN. , for a final outcome to the regional dispute over the Sahara ”. Reaching the threshold of two-thirds of the 55 members now seems possible.
In addition to the stake of the future of the “SADR” within the AU, it is the future of Sabri Boukadoum as Minister of Foreign Affairs which is also played out. Rarely, his conduct of Algerian diplomacy was criticized on January 4 by a presidential majority media. As a reminder, his predecessor, Ramtane Lamamra, was dismissed from his post because of the breakthroughs made by Morocco in Africa. Will Boukadoum suffer the same fate? His appointment in April 2019 at the helm of diplomacy coincided with the opening of consultas of African and Arab countries in Laayoune and Dakhla. A momentum that should continue in the months to come.