A former ambassador who was brutally relieved of his duties in 2016 after a bloodbath by Saïd Bouteflika, this career diplomat was appointed as Algeria’s representative to the UN to defend, among other things, the ‘Saharawi cause’.
The 72-year-old native of Skikda (in the East) has had a long career in diplomacy. His former colleagues and acquaintances describe him as a man with an excellent education, with proven skills and “an ambassador who knows how to build and lead a team” of collaborators. “He has a somewhat gruff character, seemingly sanguine, but in reality he is sensitive to the personal trials of diplomats and staff,” says one of his friends.
Another close friend recounts that shortly after his dismissal and admission to retirement in January 2017, Amar Bendjama declined a decoration from France, which had been offered to him by Bernard Emié, then French ambassador to Algiers. “He did not even consult his hierarchy when he said no,” adds this relative.
Algeria: Sahara and the conflict with Morocco, according to Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Bendjama joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1975, where he rose through the ranks before becoming ambassador in Addis Ababa and London, after his stint at the UN mission in New York. The period that probably marked him the most was the one during which he was the direct collaborator of Ahmed Attaf as Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, between 1996 and 2000.
Algeria-Morocco: between Nadir Larbaoui and Omar Hilale, a joust with regionalist overtones
Within the UN permanent mission in New York, Amar Bendjama’s main mission will therefore be to defend this dossier and he will have to cross swords with his Moroccan counterpart, Omar Hilale, whose every media appearance has the gift of irritating the Algerian leaders.
By R Beladi