Reconstruction of Algerian diplomacy under Lamamra

Algeria is reconstructing its diplomacy to achieve its traditional mediator role regionally while increasing its relations with global and regional actors.

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Algeria decided to re-appoint diplomat Ramtane Lamamra, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the recent government change, to succeed Sabri Boukadoum, a move that raised many questions about whether it was a matter of a normal change of people or a matter of rearranging foreign policy priorities.

On July 7, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced the formation of a new government led by Aymen Benabderrahmane, and its biggest surprise was Lamamra’s return to lead Algerian diplomacy.

In his first orientation meeting with the cadres of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on July 15, Lamamra stressed “the need to move forward in strengthening the Algerian diplomatic role, whether related to mediation to settle disputes by peaceful means or confronting schemes targeting the country.”

With his return, Lamamra took the position of foreign minister for the third time, after assuming the position during the period between 2013-2017, coming from the presidency of the African Peace and Security Council, and then for a short period in 2019.

Lamamra has made a name for himself in the diplomatic arena at the continental and global levels, thanks to the tasks entrusted to him by the African Union and the United Nations, and centers and institutes of studies with global references, such as the International Crisis Group and the Stockholm Peace Institute (SIPRI).

Algeria plans to regain its former mediation role in the region and reconstruct its diplomacy. Less than a month after his return to the head of Algerian diplomacy, Ramtane Lamamra set sail for Africa with the objective of putting Algeria back at the heart of crisis and conflict management on the continent.

In less than a month after taking office, he has already visited four African capitals: Tunis, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, and Cairo. Ramtane Lamamra’s African tour follows in the wake of Algeria’s redeployment on the continent.

The visit of the head of Algerian diplomacy to Tunisia, where he went in the aftermath of the political events of July 25 that the country experienced with the decisions taken by President Kais Saied to dissolve Parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister, can be considered as an effort to mediate in Tunisia’s politics.

Algerian FM Lamamra made a statement after his visit on his social media account that this meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm “the bonds of respect and mutual appreciation uniting the leaders of the two countries,” as well as their determination and their willingness to continue working together to further consolidate “the historical bonds of brotherhood and the solid relations of cooperation and partnership between Tunisia and Algeria.”.

On Thursday, July 29, Lamamra was received by Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde in her capacity as Special Envoy of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

The Algerian minister then visited Sudan and Egypt. In Cairo, he confirmed on Saturday, July 31, that Algeria intends to play a role in the settlement of the dispute.

“We want to be a part of the solution to the big files which concern our brothers when the conditions are favorable. We hope that Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan can reach satisfactory solutions that guarantee the rights of each party,” Lamamra said during a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

Continuing its communication with global actors, Algerian diplomacy recently met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, in his visit to Algeria on July 20, said that despite increasing global crises, his country’s close friendly relations with Algeria continue to remain stable.

The US Embassy in Algeria said in a statement posted on its social media account on August 6 that US FM Blinken “discussed a number of regional issues with Lamamra on Friday, including the latest developments in Tunisia, Libya, and the Sahel.”

As a result, it is observed that Algerian diplomacy has been rebuilt with the appointment of Ramtane Lamamra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, and it has taken action to mediate in developments in the Maghreb and Africa. In addition, it aims to take a more active role in regional crises such as Algeria, Libya, and the Sahel, which want to improve their relations with global actors such as the US and China.

Musab Yilmaz

Musab Yılmaz is a Researcher in North African Studies. He graduated from Galatasaray University, with a degree in Political Science. He is currently an MA student at Ibn Haldun University, in the Department of Political Science and International Relations. He conducts research on Northern and Sub-Saharan African countries, especially in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.

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