Morocco cuts diplomatic relations with Algeria

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Algeria, on August 24, officially announced that it had severed diplomatic relations with Morocco, following “hostile actions” and accusations against Rabat of supporting terrorist organizations. While saying it regrets Algiers’ decision, the Moroccan Kingdom has rejected the “false” allegations of the Algerian counterpart, whose move would be unjustified.

The Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra announced the decision: “Algeria has decided to cut diplomatic relations with Morocco starting today,” clarifying that Rabat has never stopped conducting “hostile actions” against Algiers. In any case, as determined by the head of diplomacy, the objective is not to harm the Moroccan and Algerian peoples. Therefore, the consulates in both countries will remain open and will continue to function regularly. Furthermore, according to Lamamra, Algeria will continue to prevent Israel from obtaining observer status within the African Union, a move supported by Rabat.

On August 19, during an extraordinary meeting of the High-Security Council, the Algerian president, Abdelmajid Tebboune, accused Morocco and “its ally, the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel, of “hostile acts” against his country. Moreover, the Algerian Government has evidence of Algeria and Israel’s support for a terrorist organization believed to be responsible for the lethal fires that devastated the Algerian territories. In light of this, Algiers reported that it would reassess its relations with Rabat.

The statements by the Algerian presidency came after weeks in which the North African country had to face a strong wave of fires, which broke out on August 9, which killed about 90 people, including 33 soldiers. So far, Algeria has arrested 22 possible arsonists, perpetrators of what authorities describe as “criminal acts.” According to reports from the office of the Algerian president, based on information reported by the police, the responsibility for the fires can be traced back to two groups, designated as terrorists in May 2021, Rashad, of Islamist origin, and MAK. The latter, a Berber-majority separatist movement in the region of Kabylia, would receive, according to Algiers, the support of foreign actors, first of all, Morocco and Israel.

Following the announcement of Lamamra on August 24, the Government of Rabat rejected the accusations made by the Algerian side, speaking of “false and absurd” pretexts at the basis of a “unilateral” decision deemed to be unjustified. The North African Kingdom said it regretted what had happened but, at the same time, said it had foreseen a similar move, given the “logic of escalation” of the last few weeks. For the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, what happened will have consequences for the Algerian people. In any case, Morocco will continue to be a “sincere and loyal” ally and will work with wisdom and responsibility to develop “healthy and fruitful” relations with the Maghreb countries.

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