Saudi Arabia and Algeria cosy up – but at what cost?


Saudi Arabia and Algeria have signed an agreement to establish a Saudi-Algerian Supreme Coordination Council to expand bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on May 16th.

The agreement was signed by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Algerian counterpart, Ahmed Attaf, in Jeddah where the latter is present to attend the Arab League summit on May 19th.

During the meeting, the ministers “discussed brotherly ties and means to strengthen them as well as regional and international developments”, according to the state owned Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya.

However, the upgrading of relations between Rhyad and Algiers will ruffle feathers of other regional powers as it breaks away from the traditional geoolitical mould. The Moroccan elite will watch such developments but will be displeased with the Saudis due to Algeria’s support of the Polisario group in Western Sahara. King Mohamed VI has stated that Morocco’s claimed sovereignty of the disputed region is the “lens” of how his country views relations with others. Relations with KSA have always been good, in particular between the royals of each country, but Rabat will no doubt seek assurances from Rhyad about the implications of the move.

Saudi Arabia and Algeria cosy up

Also on the sidelines of the Arab League summit, Prince Faisal met with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush on May 17th to discuss means of cooperation, SPA reported. His foreign minister also met with his counterparts of both Libya and Morocco.

Saudi Arabia will host the 32nd Arab League summit on May 19 where leaders will meet after recent rapprochement with Syria after years of isolation over its crackdown on protests that spiraled into a war.


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