Algerian-Moroccan tensions grow with Algeria’s decision to cut diplomatic ties

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra announced at a press conference on August 24 that his country has decided to sever diplomatic relations due to Morocco's "hostile actions."

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Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra told a press conference that his country has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Morocco, as of today (Tuesday), against the backdrop of a “series of hostile positions and tendencies” against Algiers on the part of officials in Rabat.

The head of Algerian diplomacy added that this decision follows the directive of the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

Lamamra stated that the severing of diplomatic relations will not harm the citizens of the two countries, as the consulates will continue to function normally.

Referring to the statements of Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Omar Khalil that he supports the independence of the pro-secession “Movement for the self-determination of Kabylie (MAK)” in Algeria, Lamamra said that his country has been waiting for an official statement from the Moroccan authorities since 16 July, but that no response has yet been received and he said he didn’t come.

Stating that they accepted the silence of the Moroccan wing as “a proof of the political support given to this action”, Lamamra drew attention to the fact that the decision to break diplomatic relations was taken because of “hostile actions” that have taken place recently.

In his speech, Lamamra also referred to the statements of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during his visit to Morocco that he was concerned about Algeria’s role in the region and its rapprochement with Iran and argued that Morocco “has become a base to support a series of attacks against Algeria”.

Reminding that Israel has joined the African Union as an observer member, Lamamra underlined that the majority of African and especially Maghreb countries are opposed to this situation, except Morocco.

Stating that it is “proven” that Morocco is in cooperation with the “MAK” and “Rachad Movement”, classified as terrorist organizations by Algeria, Lamamra claimed that the two “organizations” are linked to the wildfires in the country.

On the other hand, Morocco stated that it did not accept the reasons for Algeria’s decision to cut diplomatic relations between the two countries.

In a written statement made by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that Algeria’s unilateral decision was an expected decision due to the logic of escalating the tension observed recently.

In the statement, it was noted that the “groundless and absurd” reasons behind the decision were not accepted in any way, and we regret the decision. Also, it was stated that the Kingdom of Morocco will continue to be a reliable and loyal partner of the Algerian people, and it was emphasized that Morocco will continue to work with common sense and responsibility for the development of relations with the Maghreb countries.

Commenting on Algeria’s decision to cut diplomatic relations with Morocco, Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani said, “We are looking after the high interests of the peoples of the Maghreb in general and Morocco and Algeria in particular, so I am deeply saddened by the recent developments and hope to overcome this problem in the near future.”.

Stating that returning to relations is an inevitable fate, the Moroccan Prime Minister noted that “Morocco’s stability and security depend on Algeria’s stability and security.”

He said that it is still hopeful to reach the call for the normalization of relations made by King Mohammed VI of Morocco and emphasized that the establishment of relations between the two countries is important for building a strategic and common future.

The Western Sahara problem has been causing tension in the relations between Morocco and Algeria for a long time.

Morocco accuses Algeria of supporting the separatist Polisario Front in the Western Sahara region. It is known that Algeria does not support its neighbor Morocco’s steps in Western Sahara. In addition, it is claimed that Morocco supports the ethnic separatist organization MAK in Algeria. The mutual accusations of the two countries on sensitive issues are the biggest obstacle to establishing relations.

Although the border gates have been closed since 1994, the diplomatic relations between the two countries, which have been maintained since 1988, have been severed by the statement of the Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

Musab Yilmaz

Musab Yılmaz is a Researcher in North African Studies. He graduated from Galatasaray University, with a degree in Political Science. He is currently an MA student at Ibn Haldun University, in the Department of Political Science and International Relations. He conducts research on Northern and Sub-Saharan African countries, especially in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco.

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