Search

 

Cablegate: To Join or Not to Join: Algeria's Francophone

VZCZCXRO6471
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAS #1119 2891711
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151711Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6494
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2888
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 9056
RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0715
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 2530
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7383
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 6523
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 1732
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3545
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS ALGIERS 001119

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EDU FR AG
SUBJECT: TO JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN: ALGERIA'S FRANCOPHONE
DILEMMA

1. (SBU) Despite the lack of an official announcement by the
Algerian government, MFA contacts tell us that President
Bouteflika will attend and give a speech at the twelfth
Summit of Heads of State of the International Organization of
Francophone Countries (OIF). The summit, to be held from
October 17-19 in Quebec City, will be a stop on the
President's visit to the province, during which he will also
celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city.
Never a member and only recently a quasi-observer, Algeria
has long been leery of the OIF, given its Arabization
campaign dating back to the 1970s. Bouteflika's comments at
the summit may indicate whether Algeria intends to finally
embrace the organization, and in doing so, formally accept
the francophone identity Algeria has struggled for decades to
escape.

2. (U) With approximately 25 million French speakers, Algeria
is the second most populous francophone nation in the world
after France. Since independence, however, Algeria has
rejected offers to join the OIF or benefit from its
assistance programs. In one of his speeches, President
Boumediene went so far as to refer to the organization as "a
retailer of neo-colonialism." Still, other national leaders
have been more open about possible cooperation with the
organization. Former Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali once
stated that "the francophony should be considered a framework
and a forum for dialogue."

3. (SBU) During his presidency, Bouteflika appears to have
sought a policy of cautious rapprochement with the OIF. At
the behest and persistence of former French President Jacques
Chirac, Bouteflika attended the 2002 and 2004 summits as an
observer. He did not attend in 2006 and the current French
President does not appear to be putting the same pressure on
Bouteflika to participate.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Given that Algeria is still governed by the
same generation that fought in the war of independence, the
idea of joining the OIF is likely not a popular one within
the government. Nonetheless, Algeria has engaged with the
French government to improve the instruction of the French
language in public schools and membership in the OIF would
come with a significant assistance program including
scholarships and teacher training. At the 2002 summit,
Bouteflika declared that "French is an asset, not a threat",
but given that Algeria remains conflicted about such a
symbolic gesture, no one except Bouteflika knows what he will
say next week in Quebec.
PEARCE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC