The King of Morocco Mohammed VI reiterates his openness to the restoration of relations with Algeria

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI took advantage of a speech on Saturday to reiterate “once again” his openness to restoring ties with Algeria, which severed diplomatic relations with Rabat last year.

“We aspire to work with the Algerian presidency so that Morocco and Algeria can work hand in hand to establish normal relations between two brotherly peoples,” Mohammed said during the traditional speech marking the anniversary of his accession to the throne. .

“I emphasize once again that the borders that separate the Moroccan and Algerian brothers will never be barriers preventing their interaction and understanding.”

He urged Moroccans to “preserve the spirit of brotherhood, solidarity and good neighborliness towards our Algerian brothers”.

Morocco and Algeria have long been at odds over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, where the Algiers-backed Polisario Front seeks independence from the Rabat regime.

Algeria severed diplomatic relations with Morocco in August 2021, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts”.

The decision was “completely unjustified”, said Rabat.

The disputed status of Western Sahara – a former Spanish colony considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the United Nations – has pitted Morocco against the Polisario Front since the 1970s.

Rabat, which controls nearly 80% of the territory, is pushing for autonomy under its sovereignty.

The Polisario Front, however, wants a UN-sponsored referendum on self-determination.

Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory was backed by Washington in a 2020 deal that also saw Rabat normalize relations with Israel.

Algeria, which supports the Palestinian cause in addition to the Front, took the opportunity to criticize Morocco’s growing military cooperation with Israel, which it describes as a “Zionist entity”.

Referring to “allegations that Moroccans insult Algeria and Algerians”, Mohammed said they were the work of “irresponsible individuals trying to sow discord”.

“This gossip about Moroccan-Algerian relations is totally senseless and frankly appalling,” he added.

The king also used Saturday’s speech to pledge to reform the family code for women’s rights, social protections and price controls at a time of rising inflation.

He also pledged to redouble his efforts in terms of vaccination to fight against Covid-19.

The reformist king, 58, has ruled Morocco since July 1999, when he succeeded his father, Hassan II.

(AFP)

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