Algeria’s Prime Minister: the reopening of borders between Morocco and Algeria not on the Agenda
S.B. Morocco World News
May 29, 2011
Following the accusations pointing to the complicity of Algeria in sending mercenaries to help Gaddafi quell the Libyan revolution, in a press conference in Algiers, Algeria’s Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyayhya, accused “the Moroccan lobby in Washington of being behind this campaign against his country”.
Ouyahya also stated that the accusations harnessed by Morocco do not go in the right direction for reestablishing trust between the two neighboring countries. The “opening of the borders is not on the agenda”, said Ouyahya on Sunday, dismissing the speculation of local media in Algeria and Morocco, as well as of some analysts and Western diplomats who envisaged the possibility that borders could be reopened in June.
Borders between Algeria and Morocco have been closed since 1994, in the wake of a gun attack in Marrakesh.
Since the independence of Morocco and Algeria in 1956 and 1962 respectively, borders between the two countries have been closed many times. The last time they were open was between 1988 and 1994. For over 4 decades, the leadership of both countries didn’t manage to put their differences aside and lay the foundations of a genuine economic partnership between their economies. Since 1975, the main bone of contention between these two North African countries is the issue of the Sahara. While Morocco considers the Sahara to be an integral part of its territory, Algeria is the main backer of the Polisario, which according to Algeria’s claims, is the legitimate representative of the Saharawi people. The support that is given by Algeria to the independence of the Sahara angers Morocco.
This is not the first time Morocco calls on Algeria to reopen borders between the two countries. Since 2008 Morocco has repeatedly showed its eagerness to reopen the borders and start a new era in its relations with Algeria. The position of Algeria is that such an initiative should be part of an overall agreement on the future of the Maghreb, including the future of the Sahara.