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Marruecos

Algeria presents its conditions for reconciliation with Morocco

Algiers demands the suspension of all military and security partnership between Morocco and Israel
AFP/ODD ANDERSEN - El diplomático argelino Ramtane Lamamra

AFP/ODD ANDERSEN  -   Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Algeria has announced certain conditions to re-establish its diplomatic relations with Morocco, which have been broken since last August. These terms have been presented by Algerian officials to their Saudi counterparts in recent talks. Since Algiers decided to suspend ties with Rabat, Riyadh has presented itself as a mediator between the two.

In order for the two neighboring North African countries to re-establish diplomatic relations, Morocco should renounce all military and security cooperation with Israel, as Maghreb Intelligence reveals. In December 2020 Morocco and Israel reconciled after 20 years of tensions. This approach, promoted by the United States, has meant close cooperation between the two nations in different fields: defense, education, technology, security, etc.

Nasser Bourita, ministro marroquí de Relaciones Exteriores
PHOTO/FILE - Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita

The re-establishment of relations between the Alawite Kingdom and the Hebrew State and, in particular, the association of both in military matters is one of the points that generates the most concern in Algeria. A few days before breaking off relations, Algiers accused Rabat of dragging Israel into a “dangerous adventurism” against the country, according to EFE. In November, after a visit to Morocco by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Algeria insisted on this issue, assuring that it was a “direct objective” of this cooperation.

During the Israeli Defense Minister's trip, Rabat and Jerusalem signed an "unprecedented" security agreement that facilitates Israeli exports related to weapons or cybersecurity to Morocco. In that month, the possibility of the Moroccan Army obtaining the Iron Dome defense system was also raised.

FOTO/ARCHIVO - Firma del acuerdo de cooperación entre Marruecos e Israel
PHOTO/FILE - Signing of the cooperation agreement between Morocco and Israel

”The relationship between Morocco and Israel and its consequences on Western Sahara, as well as the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian cause within the framework of the normalization of Arab countries, will draw the contours of the new Arab world," Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra was quoted as saying by Bladi. Likewise, the head of the Algerian diplomacy has warned that "enemies are increasingly mobilizing to harm Algeria."

PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   Paso fronterizo entre Argelia y Marruecos
PHOTO/FILE - Border crossing point between Algeria and Morocco
Saudi Arabia, mediator between Morocco and Algeria

While waiting for a response from Morocco, Saudi Arabia is preparing other consultations with senior Algerian officials in cities such as Algiers, Riyadh and even Tunisia. Since Algeria unilaterally decided to sever its ties with Morocco, the Saudi Kingdom has been trying to mediate between the two countries with the aim of reaching an understanding that benefits the region. Just a day after suspending relations, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud called his Moroccan and Algerian counterparts to address the issue.

Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Rusia via REUTERS  -   El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Arabia Saudí, el príncipe Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
Russian Foreign Ministry via REUTERS - Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud

In a statement following the Algerian decision, Saudi Arabia, one of the first countries to react to the breakdown of relations, released a statement stressing its hope that ties between the two countries would be restored as soon as possible. In the note, Riyadh called on "the brothers of the two countries to promote dialogue and diplomacy to reach solutions that could contribute to the opening of a new page in relations between the two brotherly countries.” "Relations should return to bring benefits to the peoples of both countries, concretize security and stability in the entire region and strengthen Arab cooperation,” he added.

However, Riyadh's very quick proposal was not viewed favorably by Algiers. “It is still too early for mediation. Arab or other mediation is not an option, each side must take responsibility for its actions,” diplomat and former minister Abdelaziz Rahabi told the Algerian news agency TSA at the time.

PHOTO/PRENSA SAUDI  -   Fotografia de archivo, el ministro marroquí de Asuntos Exteriores, Nasser Bourita (R), y el ministro saudí de Asuntos Exteriores, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, en una rueda de prensa conjunta tras su reunión, el 29 de julio de 2020
PHOTO/PRESS SAUDI - File photo, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita (R) and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud at a joint press conference after a meeting July 29, 2020.
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Recently, Saudi Arabia has reiterated its offer of a mediator. "The Saudi mediation has proposed rounds of negotiations to start a real process of 'return to normalcy' between Morocco and Algeria,” Maghreb Intelligence reported in early May.

In the same way, it seems that Algiers has changed its position. "The relaunch of the Saudi offer has been taking place for more than a week when Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expressed his desire to get even closer to Riyadh by organizing a state visit during which he wishes to meet with the main dignitaries of the Saudi kingdom,” the source adds.