Algeria on Friday ruled out returning to roundtable talks over the Western Sahara, days after the United Nations appointed a new envoy for the conflict. “We confirm our formal and irreversible rejection of the so-called roundtable format,” Algeria’s Western Sahara envoy Amar Belani told the APS news agency. Algiers is seen as the main backer of the Polisario Front, which seeks independence in the disputed territory, mostly controlled by Algeria’s arch-rival Morocco. The International Crisis Group wrote earlier this month that “Rabat considers Western Sahara a regional issue and the Polisario an Algerian proxy”, meaning Morocco wants Algeria at the table in any talks. But some Polisario officials demand a return to bilateral talks on what they see as “a struggle by a colonised population for national liberation from a colonial power”, the ICG report explained. The last UN-led peace talks in 2019 involved top officials from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario. But they were frozen after UN envoy Horst Kohler quit the post in May 2019. He was finally replaced this month by veteran diplomat Staffan de Mistura.