Algiers and Rabat are embroiled in another war of words as Morocco condemns “provocative” behavior at a football championship in Algeria.
Morocco and Algeria have been embroiled in another diplomatic spat after Rabat condemned “provocative” behavior and “irregularities” at the opening ceremony of the Algerian regional football championship.
The North African neighbors are locked in fierce competition over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, where the Algeria-backed Polisario movement seeks an independence referendum.
Here are some of the most prominent tensions between the two countries over the past few decades:
Following Algeria’s independence on July 5, 1962, Algeria and Morocco faced off militarily over a border dispute in October 1963 in the so-called “Sand War”. Algeria said it had repelled Morocco’s ambitions for border land, while Rabat said it had retaliated against a border provocation by Egypt-backed Algerian troops.
1969 and 1972:
The two countries signed two-stage border demarcation and good-neighborliness treaties in 1969 and 1972 as the culmination of ending wars and border disputes.
Rabat announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Algiers in protest of the latter’s decision to join a number of mainly African countries in recognizing the unilateral decision of the Frente POLISARIO to create the so-called Saharan Arab Republic.
Under the mediation of Saudi Arabia, the two countries signed an agreement to normalize relations and restore diplomatic relations. The exchange of visits between leaders of the two countries is evidence of normalization.
Rabat has accused Algerian intelligence agencies of being behind the bombings in the western Moroccan city of Marrakech and imposed visa requirements on entry for Algerians. In response, Algeria closed its land border with Morocco, which remains in effect.
Then-Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika attended the funeral of King Hassan II, who died in Morocco on July 23, 1999, in an attempt to mend relations between the two Arab countries. However, no major breakthroughs have been achieved.
Bilateral relations heated up as Rabat prepared for the visit of then-Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and his delegation and signed several agreements. But the visit was canceled at the last minute, with Rabat saying the timing was wrong and Algeria calling it an insult.
Moroccan youths organized a protest in front of the Algerian consulate in the northern city of Casablanca against Bouteflika’s statement on human rights in the Sahara. The protest ended with the burning of the Algerian flag.
The two countries summoned each other’s ambassadors. Algeria also protested a court ruling that sentenced a man accused of burning the flag to two months in prison.
Morocco’s consul in the western Algerian city of Oran called Algeria an “enemy country”, prompting the Algerian foreign ministry to summon the Moroccan ambassador and declare the diplomats involved “persona non grata”.
July 15, 2021:
Morocco’s ambassador to the United Nations, Omar Hilalai, called for Algeria’s “Kabir independence” at a meeting of non-aligned countries. Algeria has recalled its ambassador from Rabat.
July 23, 2021:
The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested against the use of the Israeli spyware program Pegasus against Algerian officials and citizens by some countries, notably the Moroccan authorities. Rabat has denied the allegations, but Algiers has demanded evidence from the former.
July 31, 2021:
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has urged Algeria to put aside differences between the two neighbors and start a new chapter in their relations.
August 8, 2021:
Algerian President Abdelmajd Teboun said in a statement that his country was ready for any dialogue but asked Morocco to first clarify to Algeria its understanding of the statement made by the Moroccan representative at the United Nations on the Kabylia region. position.
August 11, 2021:
During his visit to Morocco, Israeli Foreign Minister Yar Lapid expressed Israel’s concerns over Algeria’s role in the region and its friendly relations with Iran. Algeria accused Rabat of inciting Tel Aviv against it.
August 18, 2021:
Algeria’s Supreme Security Council, headed by Teboun, accused Morocco of continuing its “hostile behaviour” and called for a re-examination of bilateral relations and increased security monitoring of the western border.
August 24, 2021:
Algeria’s foreign minister, Ramtane Lamamra, announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Morocco over what he described as “sequential steps of aggression”. Rabat responded that the allegations were “false” and regretted the decision.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has called for the restoration of diplomatic relations with Algeria.
Morocco has condemned “provocations” and “irregularities” at the opening ceremony of a regional football championship in Algeria, where Nelson Mandela’s grandson spoke and called for Western Sahara to be “free”.