Algeria accuses Morocco of dragging Israel into attack on its country

Despite the fact that King Mohamed VI gave orders to mobilise two air tankers to fight the hundred or so fires raging in northern Algerian territory

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Moroccan and Algerian flags in Saidia, on the border between the two countries

Algeria accused Morocco of making "fallacious" statements aimed at dragging Israel into a "dangerous adventurism" against its country, and said it distrusted its good intentions days after King Mohammed VI proposed its help to support the work of extinguishing the fires ravaging the region of Kabylia (north).

"This dangerous adventurism that bets on the worst constitutes a formal denial of the supposed outstretched hand that Moroccan propaganda continues to spread in an abusive and vain manner," the Algerian foreign ministry said in a statement published by the state agency APS, in which it pointed to the Moroccan foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, as the "real" instigator.

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AFP/FADEL SENNA - In this file photo taken on July 31, 2018, Moroccan King Mohammed VI waves to the crowd

In this sense, he reproached Bourita for "trying to incorporate, in his desperate attempt to denaturalise the issue of decolonisation, such as the Western Sahara conflict, a new actor represented by a Middle Eastern military power that continues to reject a just and lasting peace with the Palestinian people".

Last week Algeria launched an initiative against Israel's reintegration as an observer state in the African Union (AU), the continent's largest organisation composed of 54 countries, from which it had withdrawn in 2002. A "unilateral" decision announced on 22 July by the AU presidency despite the rejection of 14 members, including South Africa, Libya and Egypt, denounced Algerian diplomacy.

PHOTO/AP - Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita

Morocco's Mohammed VI gave orders on Wednesday to mobilise two air tankers to fight the hundred or so fires that have been raging for a week in northern Algeria and which have killed at least 73 people, 33 of them soldiers. However, the Algerian authorities have so far not reacted to this proposal.

On 1 August, during a speech to mark the anniversary of his coronation, Mohammed VI declared that "the security and stability of Algeria and the tranquillity of its people are intimately linked to those of Morocco".

PHOTO/REUTERS - Brahim Ghali, leader of the Polisario Front

The sovereign deplored "the media and diplomatic tensions that agitate relations between Morocco and Algeria, which damage the image of the two countries and leave a negative impression", a speech that contradicts the recurrent attacks by the Moroccan media, official or private, on the neighbouring country.

Difficult bilateral relations - since the closure of their land borders in 1994 - became tense again in early June after Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune visited Polisario Front leader Brahim Ghali and thanked Spain for its humanitarian gesture in welcoming him after he tested positive for COVID-19.