ALGIERS – Retired Algerian diplomat Abdelhamid Senouci Bereksi recently published a new book entitled “Introduction to Algerian Diplomacy: From Agguellids “Amazigh Kings” to Hirakists” in which he highlighted the history of Algerian diplomacy since ancient times .
Published in English by Rafar editions under the title “An Introduction To Algerian Diplomacy: from the Aguellids to the Hirakists”, the book is made up of 4 chapters, the first of which deals with the history of diplomacy from the Amazigh kings through the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Turks at the time of French colonization and finally the post-independence period.
Stressing that the first contacts of the region known today as Algeria and its indigenous Amazigh inhabitants had been with the Phoenicians, he recalls that they have established maritime trading posts, which have and a vital role in trade “.
Regarding Algerian diplomacy through the different kingdoms after the arrival of the Arabs, the author cites as an example the Rustumid State “which linked the Sahara to the region of Morocco”, the Hammadites, whose reign was marked by tolerance towards foreigners, and Tlemcen, which was, he said, “the most important trading center linking Africa to Europe”.
Concerning Algerian diplomacy during the Ottomans, the author recall that Algeria was, during the time of the Deys, “an ally of the Ottomans but spiritually attached to the Caliphate”, while being independent of Istanbul since its diplomatic relations were established in its name.
“During the time of the Deys, an Algerian state was created with borders, a regular army and a capital (Algiers). A state which has weight in the Mediterranean region and in the world and enjoying prosperity, peace and security, which has earned it the envy of European countries, he added.
At the time, says the author, Algeria had an ‘international’ diplomacy, recalling that it was among the first states to recognize the independence of the United States in 1783 and had trade relations with several countries from Europe and Asia.
Regarding Algerian diplomacy during the French colonial period, Mr. Senouci Bereksi deals with this period in 3 stages.
Besides the first (1830-1919) marked by popular revolutions, like that of Ahmed Bey, and the second (1919-1954) by political resistance movements, like that of Messali El Hadj, the author describes the third (1954 -1962) period of “war diplomacy” or “liberation diplomacy”, when the National Liberation Front (FLN) adopted a policy of war and at the same time international diplomacy at the highest levels.
After independence, Algerian diplomacy had acquired “solid foundations” and “the capacity to adapt” to the international environment, adds Senouci Bereksi.
In the second chapter entitled “Important questions for Algerian diplomacy”, the author discusses the Algerian Constitution, as legislation defining “the major dimensions” of Algerian diplomacy.
The reforms of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ambassadors, consules and the “priority” of the national interest in international relations, are also dealt with in this chapter by the author who presents a list of issues and major areas of foreign policy of Algeria.
The third chapter entitled “approaches to Algerian diplomacy”, deals with examples of “friendly” countries which have an “important and historic” partnership with Algeria.
Under the title, “the popular Hirak and diplomacy”, the author notes in the fourth chapter that “the peaceful character” that marked the demonstrations of Algerians in 2019 and their demands for democracy, transparency and a rule of law had had “a positive impact” on Algeria’s image abroad.
The 111-page book also contains several cartographies and photographs of Algerian and foreign historical figures as well as images of graves, ruins, coins and copies of manuscripts and treatises.
A graduate of the National School of Administration (ENA) in 1970, the former diplomat held several positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before his retirement in 2018.