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Algeria’s former regime was an obstacle to Maghreb integration, Moncef Marzouki says

To Tunisia’s former interim president Moncef Marzouki, the former Algerian regim was an obstacle to Maghreb integration. He revealed that Algerian leaders refused in the past to reopen borders with Morocco.

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Tunisia's former interim president Moncef Marzouki. / Ph. DR

Tunisia’s former interim president Moncef Marzouki revealed that efforts made to reopen closed borders between Morocco and Algeria were mainly hindered by former «Algerian leaders».

Interviewed, earlier in June, by Russian news agency Sputnik, the politician who was President of Tunisia from 2011 to 2014 addressed Morocco-Algeria tensions when commenting on the recent uprising in Algeria.

According to Marzouki, the main obstacle that retarded integration in the region is the closed borders between Morocco and Algeria. He recalled that in 2012 and after touring Maghreb capitals in an attempt to «bring Rabat and Algiers together and address the borders issue», his efforts led to no result. He stressed that «Algerian leaders» were the ones who were «refused» to back his efforts.

Marzouki, who lost to current Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi during the country’s 2014 presidential election, stated that what is currently «happening in Algeria» might help revive the «Greater Maghreb project» and secure regional integration in Northwest Africa.

Morocco, Algeria and Maghreb integration

Referring to the Arab Maghreb Union, an economic and political union that includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, Marzouki said that the time has come to overcome differences, giving room to a «real rapprochement» between Rabat and Algiers.

However, Marzouki’s comments on the Morocco-Algeria borders did not go unnoticed, especially in Algiers. In an article published, Thursday, Algerian newspaper Algérie patriotique commented on Marzouki’s recent interview, accusing him of siding with Morocco.

The newspaper, known for being close to the army, revealed that Moncef Marzouki’s comments were made after he «visited Morocco, where he attended partisan political activity», claiming that he was also «received by King Mohammed VI».

The Algerian news platform slammed Marzouki for «blaming the absence of integration in the Maghreb region on Algeria» in his interview.

«The former Tunisian president used the hopes of the political transition in Algeria to justify and give a second life to his pro-Morocco agenda, that he failed to implement during his presidential term», Algérie patriotique argued. Moreover, the newspaper accused Marzouki of «turning his back on Algeria’s gratitude».

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