Tunisia: Tensions as Trilateral Maghreb Meetings Snub Rabat, Nouakchott

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Diplomacy, Political, Tunisia


On 3 March 2024, the Algerian, Tunisian, and Libyan governments announced plans to hold regular meetings together, a move that could reinforce the dividing lines emerging between the three countries and their neighbors across North Africa and the Sahel. 

As Algeria’s conflict with Morocco over the issue of the independence of Western Sahara has continued to evolve, the implications have moved beyond diplomatic tensions and into tangible economic and security challenges. Algeria’s decision to boycott the use of Moroccan ports strained the economy enough that the policy had to be revised to incorporate certain exceptions. 

Meanwhile, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya all remain in tension with the countries of the Sahel over the issue of migration, including Mauritania who was notably excluded from the planned “tripartite” meetings. 

The meetings between the three North Africa neighbors are scheduled to begin after the month of Ramadan and raise concerns that the Arab Maghreb Union may no longer be a viable entity as Algiers works to ensure Rabat’s exclusion. 


With a significant history of support and interdependence between Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya, it is no surprise that the three countries would band together under increasing external pressures. Tunisia is likely to remain aligned with Algiers particularly given Algeria’s support as an economic partner and their ideological alignment on the current war in Gaza. 

Tunisia has remained largely aligned with Algeria, holding an officially neutral position on Western Sahara, but is still open to prodding Rabat on the issue on occasion, as happened when Western Sahara representatives were welcomed at an artisan fair in Sfax. 

With Algeria having shown a willingness to tangibly support Tunisia in her hour of need, the close relationship between the two countries is unlikely to shift significantly in the near term, which will likely lead to Tunisa’s further isolation from other potential region partners such as Morocco and Mauritania. 


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