The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has voiced his desire for a restoration of normalcy and the reopening of borders with Algeria, a North African neighbouring country that severed diplomatic ties with Morocco almost two years ago. Mohammed VI, 59, gave a statement to honour the anniversary of his ascension to the throne in 1999. In the speech, he said, “We pray to the Almighty for a return to normality and a reopening of the borders between our two neighbouring countries and our brotherly people.”
As a result of Morocco’s accusations that its neighbour was complicit in a jihadist attack on a hotel in Marrakesh that resulted in the deaths of two tourists, the borders have been closed since 1994, causing families to be separated. Algeria subsequently fortified its borders. Since then, tensions between the regional rivals have increased as a result of their dispute over Western Sahara, where the Polisario Front, which has Algeria’s support, is attempting to overthrow Rabat’s rule and has declared the region to be a “war zone.”
In August of 2021, Algeria cut ties with Morocco, accusing Rabat of “hostile acts.” In response, Morocco stated that Algeria’s move was “completely unjustified.” The acknowledgment by Israel earlier this month of “Morocco’s sovereignty” over Western Sahara contributed to the tensions that already existed between Morocco and Algeria. Algeria referred to Israel’s move as a “flagrant violation of international law.” Morocco and Algeria have been at odds over the territory for decades.
Mohammed VI gave a speech on Saturday that was televised across the country. In it, he reassured “our brothers in Algeria, their leadership, and their people that they will never have to fear malice from Morocco.” Every year, the king reiterates his desire for improved relations with Algeria.
Mohammed stated that the “allegations that Moroccans insult Algeria and Algerians” were the work of “irresponsible individuals who are trying to sow discord” in reference to the allegations. “This gossip about Moroccan-Algerian relations is completely pointless and, to be perfectly honest, appalling,” he went on to say.
“We will not be able to rise to the challenges posed from the inside or the outside of our country unless we first consolidate social stability and strengthen the economy.” In addition, the King used his speech on Saturday to make a commitment to reforming the family code in favour of women’s rights, social protections, and price limits at a time when inflation is rising.
In addition to this, he promised to redouble the efforts that are being put into fighting COVID-19 through vaccination, and he commended the health sector, the security forces, and the public authorities for the “dedication and spirit of responsibility” that they have demonstrated throughout the epidemic.