By: Hana Saada
Algeria has decided to “immediately close” its airspace to all Moroccan civilian and military aircrafts as well as those with Moroccan registration numbers, as from Wednesday, September 23rd, 2021, following the meeting of the High Security Council chaired by the Algerian President of the Republic, Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of National Defence, Abdelmadjid Tebboune.
“The High Security Council has decided to shut its airspace immediately to all civilian and military aircraft as well as to those registered in Morocco,” the Algerian presidency said in a statement.
The decision came “in view of the continued provocations and hostile practices on the Moroccan side,” said the same communiqué.
Wednesday’s move comes after Algiers broke off diplomatic ties with Rabat on 24 August, citing a series of hostile and malicious acts.
Algeria, formally, broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco, following the backdrop of long-standing hostile acts perpetrated by Rabat against it and which continue until now.
“Algeria has decided to sever its diplomatic relations with Morocco as of Tuesday, August 24th, 2021,” FM Lamamra said during a press conference in Algiers.
To this end, the Algerian Foreign Minister cited an accumulation of grievances leading to this decision which culminates a period of growing tension between the North African countries which are mired in a decades-long feud, with their borders closed to each other.
Speaking at a press conference in the capital Algiers, the Minister denounced, in the strongest terms, massive and systematic acts of espionage by Morocco, which resorted to a Zionist-made Pegasus spyware against Algerian officials and citizens.
Morocco, the Algerian official went on to say, is supporting a terrorist and separatist group (MAK) and failed in bilateral commitments, including on the Western Sahara issue.
Other overruns have been cited by the Minister, as long tense relations between Algeria and Morocco have deteriorated of late, especially following Morocco’s normalization, last year, of diplomatic ties with the Zionist Entity, which came with a quid pro quo of American recognition of Rabat’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, the last colony in the African continent.
Noting that Morocco eyes to trigger bilateral crises with neighboring countries, resorting to staging lies and baseless accusations. For some time, Morocco has experienced a series of diplomatic quarrels with a number of countries, first with Germany, then with Spain and Iran, against the backdrop of the conflict in Western Sahara occupied by the kingdom since 1975.
Among the reasons for severing diplomatic ties, the Minister highlighted the remarks pronounced by Moroccan diplomatic representation in New York, after he delivered to the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement an official memorandum in which Morocco expressly declared its support for the so-called “right to self-determination of the Kabyle people in Algeria, a serious deviation condemned, categorically, by Algeria, a sovereign and indivisible country, dubbing it as a hostile campaign against it.
Algeria considered this memorandum to be: “A recognition of the multifaceted Moroccan support currently provided to a well-known terrorist group,” referring to the separatist Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia (MAK), which Algeria recently designated as a terrorist group, along with the Rachad Movement.
Algeria described the Moroccan diplomatic statement as: “Reckless, irresponsible and manipulative.” It stressed that it is: “Part of a short-sighted, reductive and futile attempt aimed at creating a shameful confusion between the issue of decolonization recognized as such by the international community and what is a mere conspiracy plotted against the unity of the Algerian nation.”
Algeria, also, considered that the Moroccan statement: “Directly contradicts the principles and agreements that structure and inspire Algeria-Morocco relations, in addition to flagrantly contradicting international law and the constitutive law of the African Union.”
Algeria, strongly, condemned what it described as: “A serious deviation, including the interior of the Kingdom of Morocco and within its internationally-recognized borders.”
Mr. Lamamra, also, referred to the recent comments by the Zionist Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who was on a historic visit to Morocco as part of their normalization of ties. The Zionist official attacked Algeria from this neighboring country, in blatant violations of good neighboring relations.
“Morocco has turned its territory into a platform allowing foreign powers to speak with hostility about Algeria,” APS quoted Mr. Lamamra as saying.
“Since 1948, no Zionist official made a hostile declaration to an Arab country from another Arab country,” APS quoted Mr. Lamamra as saying.
Historically, “it has been proven that the Moroccan kingdom has not ceased its unfriendly, low and hostile maneuvers against Algeria for a day since independence,” underlined FM Lamamra, who did not fail to mention these malicious actions. This animosity, the systematic, methodical and premeditated nature of which is documented, began with the open war of aggression of 1963, a fratricidal war unleashed by the royal Moroccan armed forces against Algeria, which had just regained its national independence. This war, in which the Kingdom of Morocco had engaged particularly deadly armaments and heavy equipment, cost Algeria 850 valiant martyrs who gave their lives for the preservation of the territorial integrity of the homeland.
Despite the gaping wounds left by this armed confrontation, Algeria has patiently built state-to-state relations with its Moroccan neighbor. A Treaty of brotherhood, good neighborliness and cooperation, and a Convention delimiting the borders between the two countries have been inked in Ifrane in 1969 and in Rabat in 1972, to enshrine the principle of the inviolability of the borders inherited from independence.
In 1976, Morocco abruptly broke off diplomatic relations with Algeria which, along with a few other countries, had, sovereignly, recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Twelve years later, the two countries decided, in 1988, to resume their relations. The joint communiqué of May 16, 1988, which serves as the foundation and anchor for the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries, is drawn up with such an ambitious and responsible perspective. It has 4 essential parameters which constitute as many interrelated commitments that the Kingdom of Morocco has accepted, namely: the promotion of peace, good neighborliness and cooperation, reaffirmation of the full validity of the treaties, conventions and agreements concluded between the two countries, an effective contribution to the acceleration of the construction of the Great Arab Maghreb, a contribution to the tightening of Arab ranks around the sacred cause of the Palestinian people, as well as the support for a “just and final solution to the conflict in Western Sahara through a fair referendum of self-determination and finally working in the most total sincerity and without any constraint.
In addition, Algeria is fulfilling its commitment regarding the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco. For their part, the security and propaganda apparatus of the Kingdom of Morocco are waging a low-level and large-scale media war against Algeria, its people, and its leaders, not hesitating to forge fanciful scenarios, invent rumors and propagate defamatory remarks. More seriously still, a plenipotentiary of the Kingdom illustrated himself by a particularly dangerous and irresponsible drift, invoking an alleged “right to self-determination of the valiant Kabyle people.”
In the face of a provocation that is reaching its climax, Algeria has shown self-restraint by publicly demanding clarification from a competent Moroccan authority. The deafening silence of the Moroccan side in this regard, which has persisted since July 16, clearly reflects the political support from the highest Moroccan authority.
These hostile actions, pointed out the Algerian FM, also concern the active and documented collaboration of the Kingdom of Morocco with two terrorist organizations known as MAK and RACHAD, whose latest heinous crimes are linked to their premeditated involvement in the lethal wildfires which ravaged several provinces of the country, burning tens of thousands of hectares of forest and killing at least 90 people, including more than 30 soldiers. In addition, continued the Minister, to their involvement in the torture and the abject assassination, immolation, and mutilation of the Algerian compatriot Djamel Bensmaïl.
Besides, Morocco’s consul in Oran (western Algeria) made heinous statements against Algeria that are unrelated to diplomatic norms. During his talk with his countrymen in front of the consulate headquarters on the waterfront of Oran (western Algeria), the consul informed, in a video published and shared on social media, Moroccan citizens wishing to return to the homeland, because of the health conditions, that they are “in an enemy country” (Algeria) calling them to be cautious during their presence in it.
The Moroccan consul’s statements represent a serious mistake, from a Moroccan official who admits to the direct enmity against Algeria when Moroccan nationals gathered in Oran to discuss their concerns to their country’s consulate, before they were surprised by the Moroccan consul who said; “You do not need to gather, you know that we are in an enemy country”.
In fact, the list is long and it ranges from the unilateral, unfair, and unjustified imposition of the visa regime on Algerian nationals in 1994 (including foreign nationals of Algerian origin) following the attack in Marrakech committed by a network of Moroccan and foreign terrorists, to the unjustifiable violation of the enclosure of the Algerian Consulate General in Casablanca, with the desecration of the national flag on November 1, 2013, this serious attack on the symbols and values of the Algerian people did not give an apology or explanation, and its perpetrator, an activist from a so-called royalist youth movement, received an outrageously lax sentence of two months in prison suspended for an act perpetrated against an institution of internationally protected sovereignty, “complacently described as” infringement of private property “.
Regarding the commitment relating to the organization of a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara, the Kingdom of Morocco has renounced it, although it was solemnly taken by King Hassan II and recorded in the documents officials of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations, and the current leaders of the Kingdom now harbor the illusion of being able to impose their diktat on the international community concerning an alleged preeminence and exclusivity of their autonomy thesis. After having systematically and by making use of singular bad faith, fail all international efforts led under the aegis of the United Nations, the Kingdom of Morocco has, thus, destroyed all confidence in its word and in its signature, while it pretends to support the United Nations, whose responsibility is fully and irreversibly engaged in the search for a mutually acceptable solution for both parties, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, which guarantees the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination.
“For all these reasons, based on the facts… I have announced Algeria’s decision to sever diplomatic relations. Moroccan leaders bear responsibility for the successive crises that have drawn us into a tunnel without an exit,” Algerian FM Lamamra concluded.