Morocco’s Ambassador to Algeria Abdelkhalek Lahcen has said Morocco did not receive an invitation to the 5th regional seminar on water and environment.
Rabat – in an statement to Morocco World News, the Moroccan ambassador confirmed that Algeria did not invite Morocco’s embassy to take part in the event, contradicting Algeria’s story.
Yesterday, Algerian news outlet Al Hiwar reported that Algerian Minister of Environment Fatima Zahrae Zerouati said that Morocco’s choice to be absent “has nothing to do with diplomatic issues” between the two countries.
Although the original article which quoted the minister is no longer accessible, the statement of the Algerian official was quoted by Al3omk.ma.
Zerouati also claimed that the absence was a “protocol” move.
The ambassador told MWN that the embassy never received an invitation.
“You cannot attend a meeting without being invited,” he added.
The Algerian state-owned news agency APS reported that “Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia held a meeting in Algiers Tuesday … to prepare for accidental marine pollution in the south-west Mediterranean and to prepare for this type of major pollution.”
Several other Algerian news outlets also reported that the Moroccan ambassador attended the meeting.
Lies or ignorance?
The Algerian minister may have explained Morocco’s absence from the meeting without being aware that the Moroccan embassy did not receive an invitation in the first place. At a time when Morocco has extended a hand to Algeria for more cooperation, it would be odd to refuse to attend the meeting.
The government and Moroccan political parties have been calling their Algerian counterparts to engage in direct dialogue to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries for the interests of the two peoples.
The parties’ offers were in line with King Mohammed VI’s offer in his speech on the anniversary of the Green March on November 6.
Requesting more talks with Algeria, the King said that the diplomatic issues between the two countries require a “joint political mechanism of dialogue and consultation.”
Despite the traditional congratulatory messages that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and King Mohammed VI exchange on holidays, Morocco and Algeria have cold diplomatic bonds. The King acknowledged the unhealthy relations between the two countries which do not help the Maghreb unity project.
Despite the firm determination of the royal dialogue initiative, Algeria did not officially react to the proposal. In response, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated the King’s offer and called on Bouteflika’s government to respond to the Moroccan dialogue initiative.
In an indirect response, Algeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement last week, calling for an urgent meeting of the foreign ministers at the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU).
However, Morocco said that the statement was “unrelated” to the Moroccan dialogue initiative.