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Foreign relations of Algeria

Algeria has traditionally practiced an activist foreign policy and in the 1960s and 1970s was noted for its support of Third World policies and independence movements. Algerian diplomacy was instrumental in obtaining the release of U.S. hostages from Iran in 1980. Since his inauguration, President Bouteflika worked to restore Algeria's international reputation, traveling extensively throughout the world. In July 2001, he became the first Algerian President to visit the White House in 16 years. He has made official visits to France, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and Russia, among others, since his inauguration.

Algeria has taken the lead in working on issues related to the African Continent. Host of the OAU Conference in 2000, Algeria also was key in bringing Ethiopia and Eritrea to the peace table in 2000. It has worked closely with its African neighbors to establish the New African Partnership. Algeria has taken a lead in reviving the Union of the Arab Maghreb with its regional neighbors.

Since 1976, Algeria has supported the Polisario, a group claiming to represent the population of Western Sahara. Contending that Sahwari have a right to self determination under the UN Charter, Algeria has provided the Polisario with material, financial, and political support and sanctuary in southwestern Algeria around Tindouf. UN involvement in the Western Sahara includes MINURSO, a peacekeeping force, and UNHCR, for refugee assistance and resettlement. Active diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute under the auspices of the Special Representative of the Secretary General are on-going. Although the land border between Morocco and Algeria was closed in the wake of a terrorist attack, the two have worked at improving relations. Algeria has friendly relations with its other neighbors in the Mahgreb, Tunisia and Libya, and with its Sub-Saharan neighbors, Mali and Niger. It closely monitors developments in the Middle East and has been strong proponent of the rights of the Palestinian people, calling publicly called for an end to violence in the Occupied Territories.

Algeria has diplomatic relations with more than 100 foreign countries, and over 90 countries maintain diplomatic representation in Algiers.

International disputes: part of the southeastern region is also claimed by Libya; Algeria supports exiled West Saharan Polisario Front and rejects Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; some countries question its use of capital punishment.


Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.