Algeria breaks diplomatic relations with Morocco

Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra| Photo: Reproduction/Flickr/European External Action Service

Algeria’s Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, announced this Tuesday (24) the country’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Morocco, its neighbor and rival for influence in North Africa.

“It is proven that the (Moroccan) kingdom has not ceased its lowly and hostile maneuvers against Algeria for a day since independence,” said Lamamra, accusing Moroccan leaders of being “responsible for the successive crises that have brought us to a dead end” .

For decades, countries have been estranged over a series of issues, the main one being the dispute for Western Sahara. Morocco claims full sovereignty over the territory, while Algeria is the main supporter of the Polisario Front, a movement that defends the autonomy of Western Sahara for the creation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

There are still other problems that complicate relations between these neighbors. Algeria accuses Morocco of supporting a separatist group in the Kabylie region that last week, according to the Algerian government, caused a fire that destroyed olive fields and killed 90 people.

Lamamra also cited Morocco’s support for Israel’s observer status in the African Union as one of the catalysts for breaking relations. Morocco normalized relations with Israel last year, in a deal brokered by the US during Donald Trump’s administration.

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