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Is Algeria’s Foreign Minister touring Africa to prevent a potential exclusion of «SADR» from the AU ?

The Algerian authorities are working hard on the next African Union summit. The country's Minister of Foreign Affairs has been on a tour to countries in Southern Africa, to avoid any potential exclusion of «SADR» from the continental organization.

Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister Sabri Boukadoum. / DR
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Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum is currently touring countries of the South African Development Community. On January 12, he paid a visit to South Africa, where he met President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On Wednesday, the Algerian diplomat visited Lesotho, where he held talks with Prime Minister Moeketsu Majoro and his counterpart Matsepo Ramakoae. On the same day, Boukadoum flew to Angola for a «work visit», according to his Twitter account.

Boukadoum’s work tour is mainly motivated by the developments of the Sahara issue, a priority for the Algerian Foreign ministry. «Regarding the Western Sahara conflict, the two parties (Algeria and Lesetho) stressed the imperative for the African Union and the United Nations to work together and launch a real political process capable of completing the decolonization process», the Algerian Foreign ministry wrote in a statement. The same position was voiced, Tuesday, by Pretoria, South Africa.

This tour is part of Algeria’s plans for the upcoming African Union Summit, scheduled for February. Algiers fears a possible request, demanding the suspension or even the exclusion of the so-called «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)» from the continental body.

What does the AU Constitutive Act say ?

Boukadoum’s visits to the region are not for fortuitous. In fact, the Polisario’s main allies in Africa are located in said region. For the record, out of the nine AU members who openly opposed, in January 2017, to Morocco’s return to the continental organization, seven are from said bloc, namely : South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana and Uganda.

Algeria and the «SADR» completed the list. This shows the 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 that the request has the requisite membership of a necessary quorum. «Amendments or revisions shall be adopted by consensus or, failing which, by a two-thirds majority and submitted for ratification by all Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures», reads Article 32 of the AU Charter.

It is worth mentioning that 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» from the activities of the African Union, and all its organs, «in order to allow the AU to play a constructive role and to contribute positively, to the efforts of the UN». Reaching a two-thirds majority of the 55 members now seems possible.

In addition to the future of the «SADR» within the AU, it is the future of Sabri Boukadoum as Minister of Foreign Affairs that is on the line. Recently, his policy in Africa was criticized on January 4 by media close to the presidential palace. 

For the record, his predecessor, Ramtane Lamamra, was dismissed from his post because of the breakthroughs made by Morocco in Africa. Will Boukadoum experience the same thing ? His appointment in April 2019 coincided with the opening of African and Arab consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla.

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