Rabat - The Algerian Islamist party (MPS) has asserted that the closure of the Moroccan-Algerian border was “an unacceptable political, economic, cultural and social mistake.”
Rabat – The Algerian Islamist party (MPS) has asserted that the closure of the Moroccan-Algerian border was “an unacceptable political, economic, cultural and social mistake.”
In an interview with Algerian news outlet TSA, the party’s chairman, Abderrazak Makri, urged Morocco and Algeria to reopen the border, currently the longest closed border in the world. Makri said the decision to close the borders must be “reviewed.”
On Wednesday, September 19, the politician said that both countries share a “common destiny, because we are the same people.”
He added that there is “no convincing reason” to keep the border closed.
Algeria decided to close the border in 1994, when Morocco imposed visa regulations on Algerian visitors in the wake of a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asi hostel in Marrakech.
Morocco lifted the visa requirement in 2004. But the border has remained closed.
In his interview with TSA, Makri said that the Western Sahara conflict has “nothing to do with this issue.”
Throughout the years, Morocco has called on Algeria to shoulder its responsibility in the conflict and to engage in the UN-led political process to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.
Algeria, however, which hosts Polisario members on its land, has refused, claiming that the issue should be solved between Polisario and Morocco only.
“It’s an illogical mistake,” said the politician about the border.
On Thursday, Moroccan Ambassador to Italy Hassan Abou discussed the circumstances of Algeria’s refusal to open its borders on the sidelines of a festival of Mediterranean journalists.
The Moroccan diplomat speculated that Algeria “closes its borders with Morocco because it is not prepared for integration, contrary to the propaganda it tries to convey.”
He said that Algeria’s decision hampers the Maghreb integration project.
The closure of the Moroccan-Algerian border has concerned activists for years. Moroccan newspaper Al Ahdath Al Maghribia reported that both Moroccan and Algerian activists marched on July 22 to the border “to call on the authorities of both countries to open the border.”