Moroccan PM: Morocco Ready to Open Borders With Algeria

Moroccan PM: Morocco Ready to Open Borders With Algeria

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Rabat – Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani says Morocco is ready to open borders with Algeria without any conditions.

During an interview aired aon Al Sharq channel on Saturday, El Othmani said Morocco is ready to  end the border dossier when Algerians are ready.

The Moroccan official recalled King Mohammed VI’s peace appeal to end the stalemate with Algeria, which has not yet responded to Morocco’s dialogue offer.

On November 6, 2018, King Mohammed VI invited Algeria to engage in  a “frank and direct” dialogue to break the stalemate between Rabat and Algiers.

The King’s appeal also included a call for restoring full diplomatic ties and the reopening of the borders between the two countries.

The King renewed his dialogue offer in subsequent speeches, in the hopes of breaking the long-standing political and diplomatic stalemate between the two neighbors. 

But there has been no official response from Algeria. Instead, the country continues to stand by its traditional position of opposing Morocco’s interests and questioning its territorial integrity by supporting and financing the Polisario Front.

Despite the absence of signs that Algeria will engage in a dialogue with Morocco, Rabat still appears to hope bilateral dialogue is not completely off table with a certain segment of the Algerian people and political class. 

Algeria decided to close the border in 1994 after Morocco imposed visa regulations on Algerian visitors in the wake of a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni hostel in Marrakech.

Morocco lifted the visa requirement in 2004, but the border has remained closed.

Read also: Algerian Journalist Slams Algeria for Closed Borders with Morocco

In recent years, many Algerian and Moroccan activists and cultural figures  have called for “peace and reconciliation” between two “sister nations.” 

They have urged authorities in both countries to e reopen the borders, arguing that this would serve the long-standing cause of Maghrebi unity, stability, and prosperity. 

Earlier this year, the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA) found that 89% of Moroccans want the reopening of borders with Algeria.

MIPA’s statistics were based on interviews with 1,200 people from different demographics across Morocco, between October 15 and December 30, 2019.

Despite Moroccans’ overwhelmingly  positive feelings about their “Algerian brothers,” it goes without saying that Algeria’s repeated hostile attempts against Morocco upset most Moroccans. 

Algiers’ most recent hostile, anti-Morocco move came last week on Friday, when the Algerian Islamic Affairs Ministry called on imams to discuss Western Sahara and the Palestinian cause in their Friday’s sermons.

The hostile move, which appeared to be a reaction to the announcement of the resumption of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel, sought to ignite more anti-Moroccan sentiments among Algerians.

Amid tense finger-pointing and accusations of “betraying” the Palestinian cause, Morocco remains adamant that its position on the Palestinian question is one of “cosntant” and “principled” support for a two-state solution. 

Rabat has to date refuted all rummor and accusations of “selling out” the Palestinian cause for US support on Western Sahara.  

Within hours of the news of the Morocco-Israel agreement, Mohammed VI reassured the Palestinian leadership that no measure will affect Rabat’s principled stance to defend Palestine’s independence and the legitimate rights of its people.