Rabat – Algerian politician Mohcine Belabbas announced that “the opening of the Algerian-Moroccan borders depends largely on the Algerian government,” in an interview with Algerian news source TSA, on Sunday.
Benabbas, who is the president of the opposition party Rally of Culture and Democracy (RCD), believes that “a consensus exists among Algerian political actors to reopen the Algerian-Moroccan borders.”
According to the politician, the idea of the reopening “obviously requires talks between the leaders of the two countries in order to establish cooperation on their security against the banditry and trafficking that enhanced due to the closure.”
The Algerian political added that the RCD, along with three other parties from the Maghreb, including Morocco’s Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), launched an initiative with political parties from Tunisia and Libya. The initiative aims to influence international decisions in these countries around issues of trade, border security, and illegal emigration.
“For several years, the bilateral and multilateral relations between the countries that make up this region have broken down. We see a status quo where there are a lot of problems that have to be solved,” noted Belabbas.
The political parties involved in the initiative includes the Tunisian party Al Joumhouri and the Libyan National Party (PNL).
“I would add that this initiative will be extended to other political formations in these different countries or even in other countries of the region such as Mauritania,” he added.
“This initiative is driven by the historical criteria and political considerations whose geopolitical implications are more and more pressing,” according to a joint statement by the parties. The statement was also printed in the interview publication. The parties also invite “all the progressive forces” of the Maghreb to join the initiative.
Asked if his party contacted political parties in Algeria to join the initiative, Belabbas said that the idea is not new for the RCD. “We talked about it at the national convention in June 2013 and then at the economy symposium we organized. So, it had to be realized.”
The closure of the border between the neighbors dates back to 1994. The decision to close the borders was taken by Algeria “after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian visitors in the wake of a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech,” according to Al Jazeera.