Algeria splits with Morocco over ‘hostile actions,’ Lapid’s comments – report
Algeria is cutting diplomatic relations with Morocco, Foreign Minister Ramdane Lamamra said on Tuesday at a news conference, accusing its neighbor of “hostile actions,” including – according to Israeli media – the visit of Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Morocco, where he made statements against Algeria.
Morocco and Algeria have had strained relations for decades, mainly over the issue of Western Sahara, and the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.
“The Moroccan kingdom has never stopped its hostile actions against Algeria,” he said.
Morocco’s Foreign Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment. King Mohammed VI has called for improved ties with Algeria.
The cutting of diplomatic relations is effective from Tuesday but consulates in each country will remain open, Lamamra said.
Algeria last week said lethal wildfires were the work of groups it has labeled terrorist, one of which it said was backed by Morocco.
Lamamra cited what he called Moroccan support for one of those groups, which seeks autonomy in Algeria’s Kabylie region, and said Rabat had spied on Algerian officials and failed to meet bilateral obligations including over Western Sahara.
Indigenous Sahrawi people react during the funeral of Western Sahara’s Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz in Tindouf, Algeria June 3, 2016 (credit: REUTERS/RAMZI BOUDINA)
Algeria backs the Polisario movement that seeks independence for Western Sahara, which Morocco regards as part of its own territory.
However, the matter of Israel is also something Lamamra specified at the press conference. He explained that Morroco’s foreign minister was the true mastermind behind Lapid’s comments, and claimed that this was effectively “sending an aggressive message from one Arab country to another,” according to Ynet.
The specific comments made by Lapid during his visit to Rabat to inaugurate Israel’s diplomatic mission were referring to fears about Algeria’s ties with Iran and support for Hamas. KAN reported.
Lamamra further accused Morocco of utilizing the Pegasus spyware developed by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on Algerian citizens and politicians, Ynet reported.
Algeria also helped lead a push against Israel regaining its observer status in the African Union, even forming a bloc that, according to the London-based New Arab outlet, included South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Liberia and the Seychelles, among others.