Morocco seeks to mend ties with Algeria

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Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has expressed hope for a return to normality and reopening of borders with North African neighbour Algeria, which cut diplomatic ties nearly two years ago.

“We pray to the Almighty for a return to normality and a reopening of the borders between our two neighbouring countries and our brotherly peoples,” Mohammed VI, 59, said late Saturday in a speech to mark the anniversary of his accension to the throne in 1999.

The borders have been closed since 1994, leaving families divided after Morocco accused its neighbour of involvement in a jihadist attack on a Marrakesh hotel that killed two tourists. Algeria then sealed the frontiers.

Since then, tensions have persisted between the regional rivals, exacerbated by their dispute over Western Sahara, where the Algiers-backed Polisario Front is seeking independence from Rabat’s rule and has declared the territory a “war zone”.

Algeria severed ties in August 2021, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts”, a move which Morocco said was “completely unjustified”.

Israel’s recognition earlier this month of “Morocco’s sovereignty ” over Western Sahara added to tensions between Morocco and Algeria, which called Israel’s move a “flagrant violation of international law”.

In his nationally broadcast speech Saturday, Mohammed VI expressed reassurance to “our brothers in Algeria, their leadership and their people that they will never have to fear malice from Morocco.”

The king calls annually for a rapprochement with Algeria.