Illness or clash with Tebboune: Lamamra to leave his position as Algeria's FM, his expected successor very hostile to Morocco

Algeria expects on Monday a governmental reshuffle that would include the position of Foreign Ministry, as Ramtane Lamamra is expected to leave after a year and 8 months in the office, amid news of his health deterioration while others talk about a clash between Lamamra and the president Abdelmajid Tebboune.

Ammar Belani, the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, who was previously in charge of the Sahara issue, is the closest candidate to succeed Lamamra in the position according to sources familiar with Algerian affairs.

The expected change comes after several weeks of Lamamra’s absence from the front of events, as his absence last Wednesday from the regular session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the level of foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The event witnessed the presence of the Algerian ambassador to Egypt as Algiers representative, although the meeting was devoted to discussing important topics, such as preparing for the next Arab Summit in Riyadh.

Several media reports have recently said that the 71-year-old Lamamra suffers from a disease that prevents him from doing his duties, therefore, the Algerian regime is going to replace him with another official. Lamamra took the office for the second time in June 2021, while the first mandate was between 2013 and 2017 in Bouteflika’s era.

On the other hand, some media, such as the French online newspaper, Africa Intelligence, have talked about the strained relations between the minister and the president that pushed Lamamra out of the front of events lately. The disagreement appeared recently as Tebboune had refused Lamamra’s suggested list of ambassadors and consulates.

The only candidate to replace Lamamra is Ammar Belani, who had been appointed a year earlier as Algeria's special envoy in charge of the Maghreb countries and the Sahara file, and during that period his only mission was almost to make anti-Moroccan statements.

Belani has lately returned to make statements against Morocco, as he did in a meeting with EU’s ambassador to Algiers, Thomas Eckert, when he had described Rabat’s moves as “Unilateral actions and exposed maneuvers.”, then, he repeated last week in a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, when he described Morocco’s position in Sahara issue as “An intransigent and irresponsible position, betting on perpetuating the current situation with the complicity of well-known countries and through shady and shameful deals."

Algeria focuses once again, through the appointment of Belani, on a name that bears ideological hostility to Morocco, placing the Sahara file, to which it claims it is not a party, at the forefront of the determinants that will govern the government reshuffle, which is the same as what happened in 2021 when Tebboune dismissed the former foreign minister, Sabri Boukadoum, after Rabat gained many points in the field and diplomatically.

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