Cooperation and security: OBG talks to Mourad Medelci, Minister of Foreign Affairs
What was the final outcome of the Arab Maghreb Union’s (AMU) meeting in July 2012?
MEDELCI: The Council of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the AMU discussed the question of security during a meeting held in Algiers on July 9, 2012. The session culminated in a declaration that detailed a security strategy for the main transportation routes in the Maghreb, as well as the religious, cultural and educational aspects of a developmental model based on moderation and the need to set up a partnership to ensure safety between countries in the Sahel and Saharan regions. This strategy includes the intensification of efforts in the Maghreb to step up the fights against terrorism, the trafficking of drugs and weapons in the region, and money laundering, as well as the implementation of monitoring centres to supervise the efforts carried out by countries in the region against these blights. Algeria also called for greater reform of the AMU’s institutions. Furthermore, Algeria took the initiative to push for the creation of an economic block in the Maghreb to ensure economic integration, particularly in terms of guaranteeing regional coordination of large-scale projects targeting agriculture, water resources, conventional and renewable energies, and infrastructure. In this context, Algeria has included a North African dimension in some of its national development projects, keeping in mind that it must eventually contribute to real regional integration. Among the projects being carried out under these guidelines are the East-West Highway, the railroad network, and the expansion of electric railing and the network of optical fibres.
How can Algeria play a greater regional role with regards to ensuring security in the Sahel?
MEDELCI: For years Algeria has cultivated an inclusive approach that involves partnerships with neighbouring countries concerned with the threats of terrorism and organised crime, particularly since the ministerial conference of the countries of the Sahelian-Saharan region held in March 2010. We need a complete, coherent and structured strategy that organises the efforts of countries in the region and emphasises cooperation. Regarding the Mali crisis, Algeria’s neighbours produced a united response to the problem during the ministerial meeting held in Niamey in May 2012. They set forth principles that must quickly be enforced to bring about a solution to the crisis. These principles include conserving Mali’s national unity and territorial integrity; consolidating transitional authority, which must be both firm and based on consensus and fair representation; seeking a peaceful political arrangement between the government and armed rebels; ensuring the Malian administration can reach all territories in the permanent fight against terrorism and organised crime; and adequately addressing the humanitarian issues caused by the flow of refugees and displaced persons.
How can Algeria strengthen South-South economic and diplomatic relationships?
MEDELCI: Our cooperation with other developing countries is based on the belief that the economic growth of the South requires commitments from all countries in the South. In this perspective, Algeria is very active in the multilateral forums that are dedicated to the South-South cooperation, such as the Group of 15 and the Non-Aligned Movement. The erosion of the neo-liberal economic paradigm confirmed the validity and relevance of these groups and makes their revitalisation and their actions even more necessary for revising the international economic system to make it less unfair. As the 2012 president of the G77 plus China, Algeria is determined to spare no effort in enabling the emergence of enhanced South-South cooperation that will allow this grouping to act as an interlocutor between Southern and Northern countries to create a less mercantile international order and help create concrete proposals for greater visibility in political strategy. The aim is to give South-South cooperation the strategic dimension necessary to allow Southern countries to become some of the main engines of global economic growth.