Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has sent a congratulatory cable to King Mohammed VI for Independence Day, November 18.
Rabat – Bouteflika expressed his “heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for happiness, health and welfare” for King Mohammed VI and the royal family. The Algerian president also wished Morocco “more progress and prosperity.”
Bouteflika emphasized the “glorious pages of history telling the greatest sacrifices made by Moroccans, under the leadership of the late King Mohammed V, … and who were crowned by the recovery of independence and sovereignty by the brotherly Moroccan people.”
Bouteflika also reiterated his country’s “firm determination” to strengthen the bonds of fraternity and solidarity uniting the two fraternal peoples, in favor of bilateral relations based on mutual respect.
Moroccan-Algerian relations are tense. The countries have shared the world’s longest closed land border since 1994 and have differing views on the Western Sahara conflict.
Algeria’s congratulatory message followed King Mohammed VI’s dialogue offer to Bouteflika’s government in his speech that commemorated the 43rd anniversary of the Green March on November 6.
In his speech, King Mohammed VI stretched out his hand to Algeria, calling for “frank and direct” dialogue to normalize the relations between the neighboring countries. The King also acknowledged that the two countries’ bilateral ties are not normal and “much less than acceptable.”
The King also said that Morocco stands ready for a “joint political mechanism for dialogue and consultation to break the stalemate” between the two countries.
Besides Bouteflika’s formal congratulatory message, Algeria has not officially announced its position on the King’s dialogue offer. However, several Algerian media quoted an anonymous diplomat and an authorized source, who said that Algeria might accept Morocco’s dialogue initiative with conditions.
In line with the King’s speech, Moroccan political parties—the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Socialist Party (PPS)—announced their determination to visit Algerian parties.
Both parties issued statements on November 13 to establish contacts with Algerian parties to support the King’s offer.
However, two Algerian Islamist parties rejected the Moroccan parties’ initiative.
Mohamed Doubi, the secretary general of Algeria’s Ennahda party, was quoted as saying, “PJD will act as a representative of the Moroccan government. I think that this approach advocated by this Moroccan party will not lead it to what it wants.”
The deputy of Algeria’s Front for Justice and Construction party (FCJ), Sliman Chenine, said that Morocco “must first put an end to the tension.”