Antony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State, has appealed Algeria to look into ways to mend relations with long time adversary, neighbour Morocco instead of cozying up with Russia. The American Secretary of State has wrapped up his three-country tour in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“The countries of North Africa and the Middle East have experienced themselves the consequences of Russia’s military campaigns before,” Blinken said. This was in relation to interventions by Russia in Syria and Libya and the current war in Ukraine by Russia that is impacting global energy and food security. “The international community must increase the pressure on Russia to end this unprovoked and unjustified war,” he added.
Algeria has maintained pressure on its long-time foe Morocco for claiming the disputed territory of the Western Sahara where Algiers is backing the independence-seeking fighters. On prior occasions, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has referred to Russia as its “brotherly country”, irking the United States. Since gaining independence from France in 1962, Algeria has maintained strong ties with Russia. The country is also a major Russian weaponry purchaser.
Talking about Morocco, the two African neighbours have been locked into bitter dispute over status of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. Rabat’s plan of retaining control of the disputed territory has been strongly opposed by Algiers. But the Moroccan plan has gained support by United States, calling it “serious, realistic and credible”.
Blinken, on meeting with the Algerian President said that the Ukraine crisis must come as a lesson to all nations. All countries who consider Russia as their ‘friend’ must re-evaluate the relationship and look for friendly relations in their region and among their neighbours. Highlighting the need to support Ukraine and question Russia’s actions, Blinken said, “There are times when one issue emerges that is so clearly black and white.” He added, “It’s important to stand with the victim and to stand with the principles that have also been violated. ”