Diplomatic observers were surprised by the delay in handing over the credentials of the United States ambassador to Algeria, John Desrocher, to President Abdelkader Ben Saleh, last Wednesday, after the man has filled the world with activity and presence in the national arena through visits to many officials in the country, political parties and Algerian provinces.
Desrocher’s presence in the scene makes observers believe that the man did not deliver his credentials, but visited Ben Saleh before leaving Algeria because it is unreasonable to remain a state ambassador in a country two years without giving credentials to the head of the host country.
When Desrocher was received by the head of state, he said; “It is an exceptional honor to represent the United States of America here in Algeria, and our two countries have many common interests and I look forward to working with the Algerians to strengthen relationships between our governments and peoples.”
Desrocher was assigned to his diplomatic mission to Algeria in 2017 and has since been working normally, perhaps even more than accredited diplomats, and we can make this sure by returning to his Twitter account.
According to Desrocher’s tweets, his last visit to Algeria was on the second of this month and it led him to Ain al-Dafla, where he met with the governor of the province Aziz Ben Youcef, and the meeting focused on “the enormous agricultural potential of the region and opportunities for developing other sectors.”
During this visit, he oversaw the launch of the Spire Metal facility, a partnership between Algeria’s Batimal and US-based Max Systems, according to his tweet.
Before that, he visited the ancient city of Constantine (eastern Algeria) on the twenty-fourth of last month and visited the shrine of the martyr on February.18 for the mercy of the martyrs, and set up the Algerian-American Parliamentary Friendship Committee on February,13, and was received by the former Foreign Minister, Abdelkader Messahel, to hold the Fourth Session of the Strategic Algerian-American Dialogue in Algiers, on January,29.
He was also received by the former Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, as Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the National Democratic Rally Party, Head of the Future Front, Abdelaziz Belaid, President of the “Taj” party, Ammar Ghoul, and President of the Movement for a Peace Society, Abderrazzak Maqri, and visited many provinces and was received by their governors like Ouergla, Batna and the list is long.
The French ambassador to Algeria, Xavier Driancourt, shared this situation with him. He came to Algeria to replace his predecessor, Bernard Emié, in the 2017 summer season. However, the transfer of his credentials was delayed until the 16th of this month, and this is the case for the Tunisian Ambassador Nasser Al-Seid, who came to Algeria as an ambassador of his country in 2017, but the transfer of his credentials to Ben Saleh was delayed until Wednesday as well.
How can this exclusion, which has become a rule in Algeria, be explained?
Those familiar with the diplomatic issue attribute this phenomenon to the paralysis that the country suffered during the reign of the former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, especially in the fourth term, where the first man in the state was completely absent from the scene because of the illness, which led to the cancellation of visits by heads of state that were planned in advance, such as the visits by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the first time.
This procedure is regulated by article 92 of the Constitution, which states in its last paragraph that “the President of the Republic shall appoint and terminate the tasks of ambassadors of the Republic and the extraordinary envoys, and shall receive the credentials of foreign diplomatic representatives and documents to terminate their functions.”
The task, then, is limited to the president and he is completely absent due to illness, and then comes the “criminal gang”, as the popular movement called it, and impose Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth promise despite the anger of the Algerians.
But what do diplomatic norms say about the activity of the American diplomat, the man who has not yet delivered his credentials to the President of the Republic?
According to one of the State Department’s officials, the American diplomat’s visits to the states and meetings with state officials and leaders of political parties constituted a violation of the constitution because John Desrocher was not accredited by the Algerian state, which forced to reduce the diplomatic activities to their lowest levels, to the order of things.
All this happened and all the officials of the former president’s regime, kept silent without showing any position, which has become normal over the last 20 years, as long as it is about a country like the United States of America, and as long as the former president and his surroundings were looking for the purchase of superpowers’ conscience in order to keep silent and do not disturb the fifth term. If it had not been for the blessing of the popular movement that overthrew the “criminal gang”, John Desrocher and others would continue violating the constitutional law, as long as the aim is to maintain power, even at the expense of the country’s reputation.