Monday, 12 July 2010

Morocco sends high-level delegation to offer condolences to President Bouteflika

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's brother, Dr Mustafa Bouteflika, died on Friday, 2nd July after a long illness. His death comes one year after that of his mother. Mustafa had been the President's personal physician. He was buried at the Aknoun cemetery on Saturday 3rd July after the noon(Ethohr) prayer, amid high security.

The funeral was attended by several ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps, and several hundred mourners, of whom the majority were close to the President's circle. According to reports, it appears that most, if not all, government ministers attended in the wake of the leaders of the presidential coalition, namely Ahmed Ouyahia, Abdelaziz Belkhadem and Abou Djerra Soltani, and president of the APN (Parliament) Abdelaziz Ziari. Several senior members of the Armed Forces, as well as the former president of the APN Amar Saïdani and former prime minister Belaïd Abdeslam (1992-93), were also present.

Condolences were also sent from many heads of state, especially those within the region.

Morocco also sent an extremely high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri and Islamic Affairs Minister Ahmed Taoufiq, to Algiers on Saturday 3rd July to convey King Mohammed VI's message of condolence.

However, as one of our sources assured us, “Such respect and politeness from Morocco only serves to hide the malevolence underneath!” Our source was referring particularly to the recent death of the senior Polisario negotiator Mahfoud Ali Biba.

Biba died shortly after news of his intended defection to Morocco. While it was generally believed that he died from a heart attack, Moroccan channels have been accusing Algeria's DRS of his murder. Our sources believe that it may take more than the King's condolences to get over this latest spat in Algerian-Moroccan relations.

For more news and expert analysis please see Algeria Focus, Sahara Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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