Looming Breakthrough In Strained Algerian-Moroccan Relations

date 2016/11/15 views 545 comments 0

icon-writer By: Mohamed Lahouazi /*/ English Version: Med.B.

The Chairman of the Council of the Nation or Upper House of Parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, is representing the President of the Republic, Mr Abdelaziz Bouteflika, at a high-level meeting to be held Tuesday, in Marrakesh, Morocco, of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change "COP 22".

Mr Bensalah, who was accompanied by the Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ramtane Lamamra, arrived on Monday evening in Marrakech, where he was welcomed at the airport by the Moroccan Minister Delegate in charge of foreign affairs, Mr Nasser Burita.

The appointment of Mr Bensalah, in his capacity of the second-ranked official in the state apparatus, at the head of the Algerian ministerial delegation due to attend the "COP 22" Conference in Marrakech is seen by numerous observers as one of the breakthroughs in the relations between Algeria and Morocco recently, after a stagnation of several years, with their bilateral relations often tense and marked by mutual media attacks.

As a goodwill gesture, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, positively responded to the call of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, to participate in a high-level meeting, and issued a presidential statement, last Sunday, which stated that "in response to an invitation he received from the Moroccan Monarch, the President of the Republic, Mr Abdelaziz Bouteflika, appointed Mr Abdelkader Bensalah Chairman of the Council of the Nation to represent him at the high-profile meeting to be held on November 15, 2016 on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on climate change “COP 22” in Marrakech, Morocco".

It should be noted that the recent statement made by Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal to the “Shark Al Awsat” newspaper is regarded as a turning point in the Moroccan-Algerian relations, as he said that "Morocco is a brotherly neighboring country despite the existence with Rabat of points of disagreement on some issues, noting in this respect, that Algeria advocates a comprehensive approach where the contentious issues will be raised through a direct dialogue, especially when it comes to addressing specific topics”. 

He pointed out that “Algeria  remains utterly ready to resolve these tricky issues in a serious and peaceful manner, so that the two countries could devote their full-time to the supreme task, namely the edification of a potent Arab Maghreb Union to which aspire our peoples”, as he put it.

Algeria closed in 1994, its land border with Morocco, following groundless accusations leveled against her by the Moroccan side holding it responsible for armed attacks on Spanish tourists in the city of Marrakech, in addition to the imposition by the Moroccan authorities of an entry visa on Algerian nationals.

Mr Sellal’s positive message is widely expected to help revive the relations with neighboring Morocco and pave the way for the relaunch of the Maghreb Union - again - especially in the aftermath of the deep transformations which occurred recently in various parts of the world and in the Maghreb region as a whole.

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