By Hana Saada

Algeria Army lambasts EU interference in country’s affairs, vows to flout external dictates 

October 6, 2019

Algeria’s People’s National Army’s Chief of Staff, Deputy Minister of National Defense, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah responded to the statements by the president of the European Parliament's subcommittee on human rights, saying that what was happening in Algeria was a strictly internal affair.

The remarks made on Saturday, September 28, by Marie Arena, President of the European Parliament's subcommittee on human rights, announcing a hearing with "a number of actors" of the 22 February movement in Algeria and the rejection of the holding of the presidential election, slated for December, 12th , were considered by many Algerian politicians as "a blatant attempt at interference" aimed at disrupting the holding of the 12 December presidential election.

On Monday, September 30, in a speech delivered in Oran, western Algeria, during his working and inspection visit to the second military region, where he supervised the conduct of missile exercises against ground and surface targets, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah, Chief of staff of the National People's Army (ANP), responded to statements by the European leader.

"I have stressed time and time again that there are hostile foreign parties who are plotting against Algeria and trying to interfere in its internal affairs with blatant complicity of the gang, "said the ANP Chief of Staff, saying that" these are desperate attempts that are essentially intended to  undermining the stability and security of Algeria and its people ".

In the same vein, General Gaïd Salah reiterated that what is happening in Algeria is an internal matter that concerns only Algerians, and that the people, aligned with their army, will know how to deal with these maneuvers which will be doomed to failure.

"Algerians are the owners of their country who are entitled to make decisions independently, and will follow no instructions from any other party," Gaid Salah said, adding “what is happening in Algeria is a pure internal affair that concerns Algerians alone, as the people who are backed up by their army would know how to thwart such maneuvers, which are doomed to failure.”

"Algerian people will get out of the crisis soon, through organizing free, fair and transparent presidential election," he underlined.

In conclusion, the head of the ANP said he wanted to "tell these outrageous to worry about their affairs and the problems of their countries, Algeria will know how to triumph and get out of crisis thanks to its people and army. " This army will not leave Algeria, [...], plagued by the instigations and conspiracies of a small group of people, [...], who plan to disrupt the presidential election," he concluded.

 EU member’s statements 
In a recording posted on social networks, Marie Arena said that the European Parliament on Saturday gave support to the popular protest movement in Algeria, announcing a hearing with "a number of actors" of Hirak, the protest movement that broke out on February 22nd.

"This is the 32nd event organized in Algeria against the current Algerian regime. Today the protesters are men, women, young people, who are asking for democracy in Algeria. We support them here in the European Parliament by organizing a hearing with a number of actors of the current revolution in Algeria, "said the European leader.

She stated that the protesters in the country "indeed and of course demand that elections be held, but not under the current model, not under the current regime, not with the rules of the current regime. They demand that there be changes in the Constitution, that there is political pluralism, that there is freedom of expression and association, which is not the case today in Algeria".

These remarks did not go unnoticed by the Algerian political and popular class, which categorically rejected all forms of foreign interference in Algeria’s internal affairs. The parliamentary bloc of the Union for Renaissance and Justice hailed Algerian people awareness and experience enabling them to overcome their internal problems without foreign intervention.

“The free and proud Algerian people have chosen to call its revolution a peaceful civilized movement. We take public opinion to note that our people did not ask any party to provide him with lessons or advice on internal issues. Algerians have the will and experience to overcome all obstacles and will make their way towards a smooth solution and safe change to a system that some of its gang received support and green light from entities of States that are tampering with our country’s interests and its people’s faith.”

The parliamentary group of the Algerian Popular Movement “MPA”, shared the same position, deploring the statements of the EU’s deputy. 

“The interference in Algeria’s internal affairs is a failed attempt to sow suspicions in order to prolong the life of the crisis in Algeria.”

“We reject, inter alia, such interventions in the internal affairs of Algeria, which we consider to be an infringement of national sovereignty”, MPA party said.

In addition, MPs of the National Liberation Front Party pointed out that the European Union interference in Algeria’s affairs is harmful to the relationship between the Algerian and European parliaments which is based on respect for privacy. He underlined that Algeria does not need external dictates using some platforms to pass false information.

“The FLN bloc needs to go to the presidential elections on December 12, as this a right way out of the crisis for the interest of the people and the nation”, the statement added.

“We firmly believe in the strength and consciousness of the free and proud Algerian people, and we have every confidence that it rejects all forms of foreign interference in its affairs. It is capable to overcome difficulties and has sole sovereignty in resolving its internal crises.”

For his part, former Prime Minister and Presidential hopeful, Ali Benflis, also lambasted EU’s blatant interference, underlining that the solution to the Algerian political deadlock rests only with Algerians.

Algerian people, on the other hand, reacted to the video published on social media by EU’s member, launching the hashtag “#do_not_speak_in_my_name” .

 EU backtracks 

Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson of the EU took the floor, clarifying, in a statement to the Algerian Press Service (APS), the position of the European Union (EU) on the crisis in Algeria, after the controversy triggered by the words of Ms. Arena. She underlined that the body endorses the presidential elections, scheduled for Dec.12th, hoping that this election will express profound aspirations of the Algerian people.

"The EU is following developments in Algeria with great attention and has encouraged Algerians from the beginning to work towards a democratic and peaceful outcome in a spirit of dialogue and accountability. We are maintaining this line, "she said, noting that" we hope that the elections will contribute to meeting the deep aspirations of the Algerian people, with respect for fundamental rights and in a climate of appeasement ".

Moreover, Ms. Kocijancic stressed that it is "important that freedom of expression, association and assembly be guaranteed to citizens as provided for in the Constitution of the Republic of Algeria," asserting that these fundamental rights "are heart of relations between the EU and Algeria ".

In conclusion, stressing the importance of the partnership between the EU and Algeria, the official reaffirmed “the EU's commitment to continue deepening relations with Algeria,” while respecting the sovereignty of the Algerian people.

Algerian Head of State Abdelkader Bensalah announced, two weeks ago, the holding of the presidential election on Dec. 12.

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