Morocco- Algeria : A series of failed attempts to strengthen diplomatic relations

Morocco and Algeria have not been on good terms since a long time. Indeed, the proposal made public by King Mohammed VI to strengthen ties between the two nations has fallen on deaf ears.

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Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Messahel./Ph. DR

Algeria has not responded yet to the plan suggested by King Mohammed VI, on November the 6th, to strengthen diplomatic relations with the country and create a joint mechanism for dialogue and consultation.

Algeria’s «refusal», however, is not the first of its kind. In fact, Morocco’s efforts to better diplomatic ties with the neighboring nation have fallen on deaf ears several times in the past.

In June 2013, Algiers decided to turn down an offer submitted by Saadeddine El Othmani, who served at the time as the Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Visiting Algeria in January 2012, El Othmani urged Algerian officials to neglect the Western Sahara conflict and the closure of borders and focus on the less sensitive topics.  

El Othmani’s suggestion was, immediately, disapproved by Algeria, which decided to answer Rabat through its former Foreign Ministry's spokesperson. The latter called Rabat to stop its «hostile media campaign, to stop flooding Algeria with drugs and support the Polisario» before trying to reach out to Algiers.  

The Algerian response was highly denounced by Morocco, which saw it as «anachronistic and unjustified». Consequently, the crisis put an end to the policy initiated by El Othmani.

From 2013 to 2018, the two sister countries decided to let go of their attempts to better diplomatic relations. Algerian officials have referred to the same conditions and preferred to answer with the same tone to Moroccan proposals. Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, Mourad Medelci, former Foreign Minister and current one Abdelkader Messahel have all followed the same policy regarding Morocco.

The exception of 2005

But before Morocco launched its two initiatives in 2013 and November 2018, Algiers attempted to address diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2005. A few months before the country hosted an Arab Maghreb Union in March 2005, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika praised Morocco’s role in reinforcing integration in the union and promised to improve relations between the two countries.

His declaration was followed by a series of initiatives to convince King Mohammed VI into attending the meeting. However, once the summit took place, bilateral relations between the two countries deteriorated. Responding to that, Rabat refused to receive the Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, who was planning to visit the Kingdom in June 2005.

Over the past 19 years, with the election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika as President of Algeria (April 27, 1999), then the enthronement of King Mohammed VI (July 23, 1999), there have been few opportunities for a real dialogue between the two neighboring countries.

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