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Sahara : Algeria recalls its ambassador in Cote d’Ivoire after it opened a consulate in Laayoune

Algeria has decided to recall its ambassador in Ivory Coast, reacting to the opening of an Ivorian consulate in Laayoune.

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Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune. / DR

Angered by the inauguration of an Ivorian consulate in Laayoune, Algeria has decided to recall its ambassador in Cote d’Ivoire for consultation. In a statement relayed by its state-owned press agency (APS), the Algerian Foreign Ministry said that the decision comes «following statements by the minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad, at the opening of a so-called consulate of his country in the occupied city of Laayoune in Western Sahara».

The Algerian Foreign Minister referred to Cote d’Ivoire’s decision as «a flagrant violation of international law and a violation of commitments arising from the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU)».

Algeria and the Western Sahara conflict

Algeria’s reaction to the opening of an Ivorian consulate in the Sahara is surprising. In fact, Yamoussoukro is one of Rabat’s allies in the continent, especially when it comes to the Western Sahara question.

Cote d’Ivoire’s position was, furthermore, voiced during the inauguration of the consulate in Laayoune. During the ceremony, the Ivorian Minister for African Integration and Ivorians Living Abroad, Ally Coulibaly, said that his country does not «want to be told what to do or not to do», reffering to the Polisario’s allies in Africa, namely Algeria and South Africa.

Furthermore, Algeria’s decision to recall its ambassador in Cote d’Ivoire discredits one of the country’s claims on the Western Sahara question. Algiers has stressed for years that it is not a part of the conflict but an «observer» country instead.

This claim does not go hand in hand with the country’s speech on the conflict. During the 33rd African Union Summit, Algerian President Abdelmajid Tabboune thoroughly addressed the territorial conflict in a speech he delivered.

Ivory Coast is not the only African country that has been slammed by Algeria for opening a consulate in the Sahara. Earlier this year, the Central African Republic, Sao Tome, Comoros, Gabon, and Guinea Conakry opened diplomatic representations in the Sahara and they were all accused by Algeria and the Polisario of «violating the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU)».

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