Morocco “strongly condemns” the statements made by official Algerian sources, setting several “unfounded and incomprehensible” conditions to normalizing bilateral relations and reopening the land border between the two countries.
The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said, in a statement released on Thursday, that the Kingdom of Morocco “can only denounce vigorously the spirit and letter of these statements and deeply regret these positions that are anachronistic in their approach and unjustified in their substance.”
Recalling that the spokesman for the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had put three specific “conditions” provoking “the strongest reservations and legitimate questions on the part of Morocco,” the statement noted that “the principle of introducing unilateral conditionality in the normalization of bilateral relations is a bygone practice.”
In this regard, the statement points out that the first two Algerian “conditions” allege a so-called “smear campaign conducted by official and unofficial Moroccan circles against Algeria” and require “the effective cooperation of Morocco to stop the trafficking flow, including of drugs,” adding that the third condition, described as “more serious” confirms that “Algeria puts the Sahara issue at the heart of the bilateral relationship.”
In doing so, the same source regrets, “Algeria unilaterally terminates an agreement achieved at the highest level and reiterated repeatedly to decouple the handling of the issue of the Moroccan Sahara from the development of bilateral relations.”
“Morocco invites the international community to be witness to this umpteenth denial by Algeria of commitments.”
It concludes that “nobody has the right to take the fate of a population hostage. Nothing can justify such a punishment against the aspirations of the two brotherly peoples, including their recognized right to free movement.”