The double meaning of the dismissal of the Algerian ambassador in Paris

Mohamed Antar Daoud, Algeria’s ambassador to France, was relieved of his duties by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. His replacement is none other than the ambassador accredited to Madrid, a pawn used by the Algerian regime to kill two birds with one stone.

The post of ambassador in Paris is ultra-sensitive for Algeria. Several ambassadors have borne the brunt of the Algerian regime’s wrath and Mohamed Antar Daoud is no exception.

Before him, Missoum Sbih, was dismissed during the hospitalization of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Paris in 2013, he was replaced by Amar Bendjemaa, who was also sacked in December 2016. It took 9 months to find him a substitute.

In office since October 2020, on the appointment of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Mohamed Antar Daoud, is in the hot seat, because he is hated by certain parties who considered him a parachuted man thanks to his friendship with one of the Algerian president’s closest advisers.

The Algerian regime has not officially indicated the reasons for its dismissal or to which diplomatic representation it was going. According to Algerian sources, the case of visa restrictions would be at the heart of his dismissal, except that this file is not recent.

Other sources like the Algerian journalist Abdou Semmar – in exile in France, nevertheless close to power, and who criticized the Algerian ambassador from the first day of his appointment – affirming that the reason goes back to the non-celebration of the 60th anniversary of the independence of Algeria.

Celebrated in Algeria with a military parade that citizens had not seen for 33 years, this commemoration on which all the propaganda of the Algerian politico-military system is based was not celebrated by the Algerian embassy.

This serious fault was revealed by the journalist Abdou Semmar, before Mohamed Antar Daoud corrected the situation by organizing a reception 3 days later, on July 8 instead of July 5. This would be the real reason for the update. away from the ambassador by Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Tuesday evening, the announcement of his dismissal was made at the same time as an announcement (still not officially confirmed) of his immediate replacement by another ambassador. This is Said Moussi who until now held the post of Algerian Ambassador to Spain.

The choice of this diplomat is not insignificant, since Algeria is currently in an unofficial diplomatic crisis with Madrid and is seeking to use various means of pressure on the Iberian neighbor to make it change its position on the Moroccan Sahara issue.

Indeed, the Algiers regime recalled its ambassador Saïd Moussi on March 19, 2021 in protest the day after Madrid announced its new position regarding the Moroccan Sahara, in which Spain supports the autonomy plan. proposed by Morocco in 2007 within the framework of the United Nations, and considers that it is the most likely solution to settle the regional dispute around this file.

Spain’s position on this is extremely important because it is the former colonial power in the Sahara before the handover of sovereignty to Morocco following the Green March of 1975. Nevertheless, Spain had always kept an ambiguous position on this subject to continue to serve its interests as much with Morocco as with Algeria.

But since the major diplomatic crisis between Morocco and Spain, triggered by the illegal and secret reception with diplomatic impersonation, in April 2021, on a set-up between Madrid and Algeria, of the leader of the militia separatist of the polisario (created and supported by Algiers), the Iberian country had to prove its good faith in the face of what was interpreted as a betrayal of its first trading partner.

Algeria, which had immediately protested – while arguing that it was not a party to the dispute – by publishing pithy press releases, then recalling its ambassador. With the appointment of this diplomat in Paris, Algeria is killing two birds with one stone.

On the one hand, the country is filling a hole in an ultra-sensitive position with France, whose relations are tumultuous and currently cold. On the other, Algeria sends a message to Spain, to tell it that it is indeed a diplomatic rupture which does not say its name.

Obviously, this new appointment is part of the series of actions of Algerian pressure on Spain, after the rupture of the gas pipeline Maghreb Europe (GME), the threat of suspension of gas deliveries (if Spain came to resell Algerian gas to Morocco, editor’s note), the suspension of the Treaty of Friendship signed in 2002, then the recent orders to ban commercial operations.

Faced with these numerous forms of blackmail exercised by the Algerian authorities, Spain maintained its decision and was very clear in its position. Madrid have indicated that they reject interference in their affairs. Moreover, she repeatedly affirmed that her position on the Sahara was a position of the Spanish state and not of the government, which implies that no foreign pressure will change the situation, whether of the government of Pedro Sanchez or another.

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