The official spokesman for the Presidency of the Algerian Republic accused the Moroccan consul in Algeria of being “an officer in Moroccan intelligence.”
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has condemned the recent hostile remarks made by an Algerian official against the Moroccan consul to Oran, Aherdane Boutahar.
On June 9, spokesperson of Algeria’s presidency, Belaid Mohand-Oussaid, accused the Moroccan consul of being a member of the Moroccan intelligence community. In other words, the Algerian member of government accused Boutahar of working as a spy.
The hostile statement comes amid the continued tension between Morocco and Algeria after a video went viral online, showing Boutahar calling Algeria an “enemy country.”
Boutahar’s declaration took place during a conversation with a group of stranded Moroccans in Algeria due to the COVID-19-induced border closures.
The Moroccan consul denied the accusations, but Algerian officials have expressed determination to continue to issue hostile statements against the consul and Morocco.
Oussaid said that “this behaviour was no surprise, as we knew that he was a Moroccan intelligence officer, appointed as consul in Oran for other reasons.”
“This page of diplomatic relations between the two countries has now been turned,” the Algerian official concluded.
In response to the hostile claims, Bourita said Morocco had no initial intention of reacting to these “irresponsible” statements which “we have been used to for decades.” The severity of this claim, however, prompted a response.
“Given the extreme gravity of such remarks, Morocco expresses its dismay at these allegations emanating from a representative of an institution supposed to exercise discernment and restraint,” the Moroccan FM argued.
The official also said Morocco is questioning the “real motives behind this new escalation and the permanent will of Algeria to fuel a climate of suspicion which goes against all the rules of neighborliness.”
Tuesday’s Moroccan intelligence-related accusation is likely to add to Moroccan-Algerian diplomatic tensions, given the history of friction between the two countries.
Algeria continues to back the Polisario Front and its claims for Sahrawi independence. It does so to serve its agenda based on hostility against Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara. However, tensions often extend beyond the Western Sahara question.
In August 2018, the former secretary general of Algeria’s National Liberation Front (FLN), Djamel Ould Abbes, claimed that Morocco “exports illegal drugs” to Algeria.
The near-propagandist accusation recalls an act that took place only three months later, when Algeria’s former Minister of Tourism, Amar Ghoul accused Morocco of promoting and sending “hashish and drugs” to Algeria.
“These people take our oil, our sugar, and all consumer products subsidized to billions of dollars. They send us hashish and drugs instead,” said the Algerian minister.