The Algerian government continues to challenge not only Morocco’s territorial integrity, but also its stable diplomatic relations with European allies.
Rabat – Frustrated by the economic crisis in Algeria, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune blames Morocco for the frozen diplomatic relations between Algiers and Paris.
The Algerian President in his first interview with a foreign news outlet, selected French-speaking media outlet Le Figaro to speak about internal and external challenges.
While the president did not make mention of the Western Sahara conflict in his criticism of Morocco, he did seize upon the interview to blame Morocco for the frozen relations between France and Morocco.
In the interview, the top official accused lobbies, including those of Morocco for “sabotaging” relations between the French and Algerian governments.
“We want peaceful relations with France, based on mutual respect,” he said.
Tebboune said he contacted President Emmanuel Macron who he knows to be “intellectually honest” and has no connection with “colonization.”
The French president, according to Tebboune, is “trying to resolve this problem that is poisoning relations between our two countries; sometimes it is misunderstood, and sometimes it is the subject of virulent attacks by very powerful lobbies.”
The Algerian president believes that Morocco’s lobbies are attempting to undermine Algerian and French efforts to enjoy “serene relations.”
“Even when Algeria proposes peaceful solutions to regional crisis, Moroccan lobbies always find a way of intervening, claiming that Morocco is concerned too,” he said.
In his comment on Moroccan interventions, the president was referring to the north African country’s efforts to mediate in the Libya crisis. Morocco shared concerns over the conflict in Libya, stipulating that the 2015 Skhirat Agreement should be the only basis to end the conflict.
Algeria’s government, who recently received Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, claims it is ready to mediate in Libya ceasefire talks.
“If we are given a mandate by the U.N. Security Council, we are capable of quickly bringing peace to Libya since Algeria is a sincere and credible mediator, and one that is accepted by all Libyan tribes,” he told Le Figaro.
A history of hostility
Western Sahara is not the only obstacle in the way of Morocco-Algeria relations. The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994 after the Moroccan government imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens following a terror attack on the Atlas Asni in Marrakech.
Prior to his appointment as President, Tebboune said Morocco “should apologize for closing the borders.”
The Moroccan government has repeatedly asked for increased cooperation with Algeria, including the opening of the borders with its eastern neighbor.
In recent years King Mohammed VI has also proposed on a number of occasions the opening of a frank and direct political dialogue to break the stalemate between the two countries. To date, the Algerian government has ignored the proposal.
While Morocco also maintains that its principles are based on non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, Algeria continues to interfere in the Western Sahara conflict. The country has been backing the Polisario Front, supporting its independence claims over Western Sahara since its inception.
Algeria also backs the breakaway group financially, providing them with arms and sheltering them in camps called Tindouf.