Algeria: charting its own course

25.03.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with Ramtane Lamamra, the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs in the country, writes the German Foreign Office.

A demonstration in the capital Algiers on 19 March 2019
A demonstration in the capital Algiers on 19 March 2019© abaca

Algeria is a neighbour of, and an important partner for, Europe. The political and economic stability of Algeria is very important to the European Union and its member states. Consequently, Germany is closely following developments in Algeria. The German government believes that it is crucial for the men and women of Algeria to be able to determine their own future. For this, it is essential that all rallies remain peaceful. This is the responsibility of not only the demonstrators, but also the security forces.

Prior to meeting his new Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, Foreign Minister Maas welcomed that the new Algerian government is maintaining dialogue with Germany also in turbulent times. He emphasised that Algeria must now shape its own political future:

It’s clear that answers can be found only within the country and through a social consensus that is brought about by credible, inclusive dialogue.

Peaceful protests

Foreign Minister Maas with his Algerian counterpart Lamamra
Foreign Minister Maas with his Algerian counterpart Lamamra© Thomas Imo/photothek.net

Since mid-February, Algerians have been peacefully demonstrating throughout the country for a new government and political reforms. The protests were triggered by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s announcement that he intended to seek a fifth term of office in the elections that were originally scheduled for April 18. Responding to massive protests, Bouteflika withdrew his candidacy and postponed the elections. He appointed a new government and tasked it with managing the political transition and initiating a process to redraft the country’s constitution.

An important regional actor

Algeria plays an active and constructive role in the region – for example with regard to Libya, the Sahel region and Western Sahara. This is why, during his visit to Berlin, Foreign Minister Lamamra also met with former German President Horst Köhler, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara. Germany supports Köhler’s efforts, which have brought new impetus to the political process on Western Sahara. In Geneva in December 2018, talks took place between Morocco, the Polisario Front, Algeria and Mauritania. Further talks are scheduled to be held on March 21 and 22 2019.

©German Foreign Office

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