Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has expressed optimism for a return to normalcy and the possibility of reopening borders with North African neighbor Algeria, with whom diplomatic ties were severed nearly two years ago.
In a speech to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI, aged 59, expressed his prayers to the Almighty for a return to normalcy and the reopening of borders between Morocco and Algeria, as well as for improved relations between the two brotherly peoples.
The borders between Morocco and Algeria have been closed since 1994, leading to the separation of families. This closure came after Morocco accused Algeria of being involved in a jihadist attack on a Marrakesh hotel, resulting in the deaths of two tourists. As a response, Algeria sealed the borders.
Since then, tensions have remained between the regional rivals, further fueled by their disagreement over Western Sahara. In the disputed territory, the Algiers-backed Polisario Front is seeking independence from Rabat’s rule and has designated the area as a “war zone.”
This issue has added to the strain between Morocco and Algeria.
In August 2021, Algeria cut diplomatic ties with Morocco, citing “hostile acts” as the reason for their decision. In response, Morocco deemed the move “completely unjustified.”
Tensions between Morocco and Algeria escalated after Israel’s recent recognition of “Morocco’s sovereignty” over Western Sahara. Algeria condemned Israel’s action, labeling it a “flagrant violation of international law.”
During his nationally broadcast speech on Saturday, King Mohammed VI offered reassurance to “our brothers in Algeria, their leadership, and their people” that they need not fear any animosity or ill intentions from Morocco.
Every year, the king makes an annual call for a rapprochement with Algeria.