The signatories highlighted the importance of a humanitarian approach that could end the suffering of thousands of Algerian and Moroccan families torn apart for decades.
Rabat – Over 100 Moroccan and Algerian public figures have signed an initiative calling for the opening of a “humanitarian” crossing between Algeria and Morocco.
Dubbed “the Call of the Future,” the project seeks to allow families and friends to exchange visits without movement restrictions that have been ongoing since 1994.
Algeria maintains the closure of the border with Morocco.
Algiers closed the border after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni hotel in Marrakech.
Since then, borders between the two countries have been closed, despite Rabat’s multiple initiatives calling for the end of the stalemate that affects thousands of Algerian-Moroccan families.
The signatories of “the Call of the Future” initiative include Moroccan political analyst and foreign diplomacy expert Samir Bennis, co-founder of MWN.
Moroccan activist Hicham Sneoussi, as well as Algerian academic Anouar Slimani, are among the many other Moroccan and Algerian signatories.
The initiative aspires to see the end of hate speech and diplomatic tensions that have marked the relations between the two countries for decades.
In recent months, hostility between the two neighbors escalated after Morocco secured wide support for its sovereignty over Western Sahara and territorial integrity.
The Algerian government intensified antagonism after former US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Without dismissing the profound political and strategic divergences between Algiers and Rabat, the “Call of the Future” signatories drew attention to the need to look at the “humanitarian” reasons for easing tensions. They urged decision makers on both sides to take into account all families that have “severely” suffered from the psychological and socio-economic repercussions of the closure of borders.
The petition also seeks to end media confrontation between both countries, crossing red lines.
Morocco has been the subject of several attacks from Algerian media recently.
The latest attack came from the Algerian television channel, Ennahar, which broadcasts a comedy show that featured a man chanting a song about Western Sahara while displaying the picture of King Mohammed VI.
Echourouk TV, another Algerian-based channel, recently aired another program portraying King Mohammed VI as a “puppet.”
Other Algerian media and officials continue to target Morocco, falsely accusing the country of conspiring to destabilize Algeria and undermining Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces.
It is unlikely that Algeria will take into account yet another appeal to open borders.
The country has remained deaf to several similar calls in recent years, and one of the latest signs that Algeria will most probably reject the “Call of the Future” is a recent interview by Algeierian Communication Minister Ammar Belhimer.
In the interview, Belhimer outlined conditions for his country to reopen borders with Morocco.
He notably argued that Rabat should prove its “good intentions,” despite ample evidence that Morocco has repeatedly shown more than its “good intentions” to reopen borders with its eastern neighbor.
In a landmark speech in November 2018, King Mohammed VI invited Algeria to engage in a “frank and direct” dialogue to break the statement between the two countries.
The Moroccan King and government renewed Morocco’s invitation on several other occasions, but Algeria has constantly turned a deaf ear to the request.