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Algeria president 'ignores' Morocco king's attempts to end rift

Algeria has yet to officially respond to King Mohammed [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 November, 2018

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Algeria's president has ignored the king of Morocco's attempt to end to a long-running spat between the rival North African countries.

Algeria's president has ignored the king of Morocco's attempts to end to a long-running spat between the rival North African countries.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika made no mention of Rabat's offer to end the rift in a message sent to King Mohammed VI on Sunday to congratulate the monarch on the occasion of Moroccan Independence Day.

"I reiterate our determination to work with you to strengthen the relations of brotherhood and solidarity that unite our two countries and anchor bilateral relations based on mutual respect," Bouteflika said in an official statement.

Domestic Algerian media have viewed the routine diplomatic cable as a direct snub to the king's attempt to extend an olive branch the neighbouring country.

King Mohammed expressed a willingness for "frank and open dialogue" with Algeria in a speech earlier this month.

A source in the Algerian foreign ministry told The New Arab's Arabic-language service at the time that the monarch's message was "a violation to diplomatic norms".

"Morocco should have relied on diplomatic channels instead of resorting to pushing its position through the media," the source said.

Algeria has yet to officially respond to King Mohammed.

Rabat and Algiers have shared fraught relations due to disputes over the disputed territory, with Morocco accusing its neighbour of aiding Western Sahara separatists.

The Algeria-Morocco border was closed in 1994 following new visa requirements introduced by Rabat for Algerian citizens.

The measures were introduced due to Moroccan suspicions that Algiers had perpetrated an attack on the Asni Hotel in Marrakech which killed a number of tourists and locals.

Last month, Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the Polisario Front - a separatist Sahrawi group considered as terrorists by Morocco - accepted a UN invitation to hold talks in December on ending the decades-old conflict in Western Sahara.

The United Nations has repeatedly failed to broker a settlement over the north African territory, where Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario fought for control from 1975 to 1991.

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