The Moroccan authorities appointed Mohamed Ait Ouali as its new ambassador to Algeria, to replace the former ambassador, Hassan Abdelkhalek, the appointment that came in a very sensitive circumstance and what increased its level is the escalation between Algeria and Rabat, against the backdrop of a new Moroccan “provocation” on Algeria’s Western border.
The appointment of the new Moroccan ambassador came, in a difficult circumstance, as two months ago from now, a diplomatic crisis erupted between the two countries, due to an ill-considered statement of the former Moroccan consul in Oran, Aherdane Boutaher, in which he described Algeria as the “enemy country”, while he was in conversation with Moroccan protesters in Oran (western Algeria) demanding their evacuation them at the height of the emerging Covid-19 crisis.
This mistake left popular and official anger, and demands for the expulsion of the consul, who was an intelligence agent disguised in a diplomatic garment, according to the presidential spokesperson, Belaid Mohand-Oussaid, and despite the manoeuvres of the Moroccan side, which were accompanied by the Makhzen’s attempts to evade from the responsibility of its consul, but it was forced to withdraw this consul in silence, fearing his deportation based on the veiled threat issued by the Foreign Minister.
The storm of the Moroccan consul did not end and he was summoned by his country, but another issue erupted, which is building a Moroccan military base near the southwestern border of Algeria, which is the issue that the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, discussed in the interview with the French channel “France 24” last weekend.
President Tebboune talked about an unjustified escalation by the Moroccan party, when he said that “the Algerian-Moroccan relationships are living in an abnormal situation, due to Morocco’s positions and its continued escalation against Algeria”, but he warned that the Moroccan escalation, which used to be verbal, has evolved in the last period to become more than verbal.
By replacing the Moroccan ambassador, and expelling the consul of Oran, the Moroccan diplomatic representations in Algeria have changed most of their faces, but the weight of the past will not help the new ambassador to overcome the difficulties in improving bilateral relationships, being much greater than a diplomatic mission, which is to fill a position that is assigned to him.
During the period spent by Hassan Abdelkhalek as an ambassador of his country in Algeria, no violations were recorded against him, unlike the consul of Oran. However, the former Moroccan ambassador to Algeria was removed from his job because he was unable to save the bilateral relationship and solve the problems that it suffers from, which means that restoring these relationships requires will at the highest level, and exactly at the level of the royal palace.