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Algerian officials study the reopening of the land border with Morocco

In Algeria, «sovereign authorities» are studying alongside academics and specialists the possibility of reopening the land border separating Morocco from their country. But a concrete decision related to the issue would be delayed by presidential election.

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Morocco-Algeria land border. / Ph. DR

Closed since 1994, the land border between Morocco and Algeria might be reopened, but not before electing a new president in Algiers. Well-informed sources told British online newspaper The Independent that «positive steps» are taken by «sovereign authorities» to study the issue with researchers and academics.

According to the Arabic-language newspaper, the initiative consists of thinking of the «most effective way to reopen the land border (…) despite the differences» between the two countries, especially when it comes to the Western Sahara issue.

The first phase of this project is to start slowly but surely, «tackling issues related to the people wanting to cross the border and trade, all while monitoring the number of Algerians and Moroccans who would like to travel to the other side of the frontier».

This project is chaired by «a team made up of several departments», the same source said. However, executing this plan cannot be done before electing a new president in Algeria, The Independent reports.

But this wouldn’t rule out the ability of creating roadmaps that could be applicable after the presidential election in the neighboring country.

Turning the page

After a group of terrorists bombed Marrakech hotel Atlas Asni in August 1994, Morocco accused Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group (GIA) of orchestrating the attack and that led to the border closure. Fifteen years later, the border was briefly opened, allowing a British humanitarian convoy dubbed «Viva Palestina», «loaded with multifarious aid destined to the distressed Palestinian population of the Gaza strip», to enter the border town of Maghnia.

In the past years, Morocco urged the Algerian authorities to set aside their differences and reopen the land border. But these attempts were ignored by the Algerian government. One of the latest endeavors was made by King Mohammed VI, who urged Algeria in his 2018 Green March speech to discuss the issue and turn the page on this episode. But the royal initiative fell on deaf ears.

Most recently, the inhabitants of almost ten towns in eastern Morocco agreed to march toward the Morocco-Algeria border right after the Algeria vs. Senegal Africa Cup of Nations game, played in Egypt.

To celebrate the victory of the Algerian football team and hail the relations that tie them to Algerians, these Moroccans called for the reopening of the border that has been closed for 25 years. After the Algerian team won the title, football fans from the region went near the border to cheer the team and show that they want the barrier to be lifted.

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