Algeria has excluded Secretary-General of the Arab Maghreb Union Taieb Baccouche from the Arab League Summit.
Baccouche, whose mandate as secretary general of the union expired at the end of August, received an invitation from the League of the Arab States. Algeria’s organizing committee of the summit, however, did not send him an invitation to attend the event.
Converging reports quoted Baccouche, who confirmed that he did not receive an invitation from the organizing committee. However, Baccouche refused to provide any interpretation about the reason why Algeria would exclude him from the summit.
An authorized source said that Baccouche’s exclusion from the event is “unprecedented,” since the Arab Maghreb Union is an observer member of the League of Arab States.
The same source said that Algeria decided to exclude Baccouche from the event because he is “merely” in charge of managing the union until the appointment of a new Secretary General.
The same sources suggested that the decision could also be because of Tunisian President Kais Saied, who did not agree on extending an invitation to Baccouche due to “his hostile positions against the Tunisian regime.”
Baccouche has been planning to revive talks with Arab leaders from North Africa to secure reconciliation between the countries of the Maghreb Arab Union.
The region is marked by bilateral tensions between several countries, notably Moroccan tensions with Algeria and Tunisia.
Throughout the decades-long dispute over Western Sahara, Algeria has been challenging Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the southern provinces.
Tunisian President Kais Saied sparked backlash after his country extended an official invitation to Polisario Front Leader Brahim Ghali to take part in the Tokyo International Africa Development Forum (TICAD) held in Tunis in August.
The decision infuriated Morocco, which recalled its ambassador to Tunisia and denounced the country’s “unilateral decision” to invite Ghali to the Japan-Africa summit.
“After having recently multiplied negative positions and acts with regard to the Kingdom of Morocco and its higher interests, Tunisia’s attitude within the framework of the TICAD process confirms blatant hostility,” the Moroccan Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Baccouche was among the public figures who expressed concerns about the diplomatic crisis between the two countries and hoped to see a reconciliation between them.
Earlier this year, Baccouche called for a meeting between the Maghreb foreign ministers to discuss political issues, including the crisis in Libya.
Baccouche later released a communique stating that he was surprised to see the emergence of another crisis between Morocco and Tunisia.
“We have been surprised by a new crisis in relations between Tunisia and Morocco. The relationship is going through an ordeal,” he said.