Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra announced Tuesday, August 24, the severance of diplomatic relations with Morocco, due to“Hostile actions” of the Shereefian kingdom with regard to Algeria.
“Algeria has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Morocco from today “, said the Algerian minister at a press conference. Mr. Lamamra justified this decision by asserting that “History had shown that the kingdom of Morocco has never ceased to carry out hostile actions against Algeria”.
“The Moroccan security services and propaganda are waging a despicable war against Algeria, its people and its leaders by spreading rumors and spreading malicious and inflammatory information”, added Mr. Lamamra. He deplored a behavior of Morocco which “Leads to conflict instead of integration in the region” from the Maghreb.
Rabat did not immediately react to this announcement.
The thorny issue of Western Sahara
At the end of July, the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, deplored the “Tensions” with Algeria, inviting the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, “To make wisdom prevail” and to “Work in unison to develop relationships” between the two countries.
Traditionally difficult, relations between Algeria and its Moroccan neighbor have experienced a recent deterioration due, in particular, to the thorny issue of Western Sahara.
The normalization of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel – in return for American recognition of the “Sovereignty” Moroccan in this territory – further heightened tensions with Algeria, which denounced “Foreign maneuvers”.
Diplomatic ties had been severed for the first time between the two countries when, on March 7, 1976, Rabat ended its relations with Algiers following the recognition by Algeria of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, self-proclaimed by the separatists of the Polisario Front.
“The Moroccan provocation reached its climax when a Moroccan delegate to the United Nations called for the independence of the people of the Kabylia region”, said Mr. Lamamra on Tuesday. “Algeria has shown restraint, but the Moroccan silence in this regard reflects the political support for this approach”, qualified as “Dangerous and irresponsible”.
“Revision of relations”
Algiers had recalled, in July, its ambassador to Rabat following “The drift of the Moroccan diplomatic representation in New York which distributed an official note to the member countries of the non-aligned movement in which Morocco” publicly and explicitly supports an alleged right to self-determination of the Kabyle people “”, explained the Algerian foreign ministry.
During a meeting of the non-aligned movement on July 13 and 14, in New York, Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, passed a note in which he considered: “The valiant Kabyle people deserve, more than any other, to fully enjoy their right to self-determination. ” A red line for Algiers, which opposes any independence desire in Kabylia, a Berber-speaking region in northern Algeria.
Wednesday August 17, the High Security Council, headed by the Algerian President had decided to ” review ” relations with Morocco, accused of being involved in the deadly fires that ravaged the north of the country, killing at least 90 people.
“The hostile and incessant acts perpetrated by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the revision of relations between the two countries and the intensification of security controls at the western borders”, said the Algerian presidency in a press release. The border between Algeria and Morocco has been officially closed since August 16, 1994.
Fires of “criminal” origin
According to President Tebboune, most of these fires were original “Criminal” – without the slightest proof being presented so far. The investigation made it possible to “Discover that a criminal network classified as a terrorist organization” is behind the fires, “By the admission of its arrested members”, according to the Directorate General of National Security.
Beyond the human and material losses – and the shortcomings of the public authorities brought to light during these fires – Algerians were deeply shocked by the lynching and immolation of a man wrongly accused of pyromania in Kabylia, region Berber speaker from the northeast of the country ravaged by fires. Sixty-one suspects have been arrested since the murder of Djamel Bensmaïl on August 11. Algerian leaders accused the Movement for Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK), an independentist organization, of being responsible for the fires and the ignominious death of the young man.
“The High Security Council has decided (…) to intensify the efforts of the security services for the arrest of the rest of the individuals involved in the two crimes, as well as all members of the two terrorist movements which threaten public security and national unity, until their total eradication, in particular the MAK, which receives support and assistance from foreign parties, led by Morocco and the Zionist entity [Israël] “, according to the Algerian presidency. Some of the suspects arrested confessed to belonging to this movement, according to confessions filmed and broadcast by Algerian television.