Algeria is dramatically increasing security on its border with Morocco at a time when Morocco is calling up for more bilateral cooperation.
Rabat – Algeria has deployed nearly 6,000 kilometers of barbed wire on its border with Morocco, according to Moroccan newspaper Al Massae. The barbed wire is nearly four times the length of the border. The fence also includes surveillance cameras.
While Morocco has called for more dialogue and enhanced security cooperation between the two countries, Algeria has not directly responded but has tightening security at the closed border to “combat migration and terrorism.”
Both Moroccan and Algerian news outlets, as well as the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), reported about Algeria’s increased border protection.
Citing anonymous Algerian sources, Al Massae reported that Algeria built hundreds of control towers along the new barbed wire fence with new generation radar operating day and night.
Algeria closed the border with Morocco in 1994. Algeria made the decision after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech.
Tension between Morocco and Algeria dates back decades. In October 1963, they fought the Sand War over the border near Figuig in eastern Morocco. The war ended a year later when the US, the African Union, and the Arab League mediated the conflict.
Since then, the border has only been opened between 1988 and 1994. After the decades-long conflict, Morocco extended its hand to break the stalemate by proposing a mechanism of dialogue and consultation at the initiative of King Mohammed VI.
The King called on Algeria to propose any initiative that could normalize their diplomatic ties.
The president of Algerian opposition party Rally of Culture and Democracy (RCD), Mohcine Belabbas, believes that “a consensus exists among Algerian political actors to reopen the Algerian-Moroccan borders.”
For his part, the chairman of the MPS Algerian Islamist, Abderrazak Makri, called on both counties to reopen the border. He said the decision to close the borders must be “reviewed.”