Four days after Algeria called for a meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) foreign ministers council, Mauritania has declared it is ready to host the meeting.
Rabat – Mauritania’s foreign affairs ministry announced its “commitment” to the AMU in a statement quoted by the Mauritanian Information Agency (AMI).
The statement added that Mauritania would like to “host” the extraordinary meeting of the AMU’s foreign ministers “as soon as possible.”
The country also said that it is open to all “initiatives that contribute to the revitalization of the institutions of the Arab Maghreb” to meet the expectations of its people.
On November 6, King Mohammed VI acknowledged the division and lack of unity in the Maghreb due to political tensions in the region in a speech to the nation.
The monarch called for more cooperation between Morocco and Algeria, describing their bilateral ties as not normal and much less than acceptable.
Through his speech, King Mohammed VI reiterated Morocco’s commitment to developing the Maghreb, calling for any initiative to break the stalemate between Morocco and Algeria.
In response, Algeria requested a meeting of the AMU’s foreign affairs ministers to happen soon.
Like the Moroccan dialogue offer, the Algerian meeting initiative received a nod from the African Union.
The chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, encouraged all the AU members to work towards the proposed meeting to revive Maghreb construction. He added, in a statement published on November 23, that the regional economic communities are the pillars of the African Union.
Moroccan officials have extended their hands several times to Algeria to open the border, which has been closed for many years. Algeria closed the border between the two countries in 1994 when Morocco imposed visa regulations on Algerian visitors in the wake of a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni hotel in Marrakech.
In 2004, Morocco lifted the visa requirement, but the border has remained closed. However, the closed border is not the issue that has hampered cooperation between the two countries.
Both countries have been issuing requests to each other. While Morocco urges its eastern neighbor to take responsibility in the Western Sahara conflict because Algeria hosts and arms the Polisario Front, Algeria calls on Morocco to remain neutral in the conflict and leave it to be taken care of only at the United Nations.
Morocco supports the United Nations’ political process to find a mutually acceptable and agreed upon solution to the conflict. However, Morocco finds Algeria’s request objectionable because Morocco is defending its position and territorial integrity.
An authorized Algerian diplomat speaking anonymously said that Algeria has more conditions to break the stalemate between the two countries. Two of its other conditions are to stop propaganda war and end the flow of drugs into Algeria.
While Algeria has called for the end of propaganda, some Algerian news outlets and politicians are still accusing Morocco of sending drugs into Algeria.
The most recent remark came from the president of the Rally of Algerian Hope (TAJ) party, Amar Ghoul, who claimed that Morocco is sending “hashish and drugs” to Algeria.
He also accused Morocco of exploiting Algerian-based oil, sugar, and consumer products subsidized to billions of dollars.
Created in 1989 after the signing of a treaty, the AMU aims to ensure a regional hub to enhance economic activities with free circulation of people and goods. The union wants to create integration among the member countries like that of the European Union and the African Union.
However, regional conflicts have hampered the union and created division, as King Mohammed VI emphasized in his speech.