Hostile Actions: Morocco claims innocence as Algeria cuts diplomatic ties
Algeria is cutting diplomatic relations with Morocco, Foreign Minister Ramdane Lamamra said, accusing its neighbour of “hostile actions”.
However, Morocco has said Algeria’s reason for severing tie was unfounded.
Morocco and Algeria have had strained relations for decades, mainly over the issue of Western Sahara.
“Algeria has decided to cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco from today,” Lamamra said at a news conference on Tuesday.
“The Moroccan kingdom has never stopped its hostile actions against Algeria,” he said.
The cutting of diplomatic relations is effective from Tuesday but consulates in each country will remain open, Lamamra said.
Morocco’s Foreign Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.
King Mohammed VI has called for improved ties with Algeria.
Algeria last week said lethal wildfires were the work of groups it has labelled “terrorist”, one of which it said was backed by Morocco.
The forest fires in Algeria, which broke out on August 9 amid a blistering heatwave, burned tens of thousands of hectares of forest and killed at least 90 people, including more than 30 soldiers.
Algerian authorities have pointed the finger for the fires at the independence movement of the mainly Berber region of Kabylie, which extends along the Mediterranean coast east of the capital, Algiers.
The authorities have also accused the Movement for Self-determination of Kabylie (MAK) of involvement in the lynching of a man falsely accused of arson, an incident that sparked outrage.
Algiers last week accused Rabat of supporting the MAK, which it classifies as a “terrorist organisation”.
“The incessant hostile acts carried out by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the review of relations between the two countries,” a presidency statement said last week.
It also said there would be an “intensification of security controls on the western borders” with Morocco.
The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994.
Algeria backs the Polisario movement that seeks independence for Western Sahara, which Morocco regards as part of its own territory.
Algeria has accused members of the MAK separatist movement of starting forest fires
Morocco has rejected reasons put forward by Algeria in its decision to sever diplomatic relations with its North African neighbour.
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra announced his country’s decision on Tuesday to cut all ties with Morocco for “hostile acts”.
Algiers accused its neighbour of providing support to members of the MAK separatist movement, which is fighting for self-determination in the Kabylie region of Algeria.
MAK is believed to have started forest fires in Algeria, and is also accused of involvement in the killing of a man mistaken for an arsonist.
In response, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “Morocco rejects this unjustified decision. The pretext is fallacious and absurd.
“The Moroccan kingdom will however remain a credible and loyal to the Algerian people and will continue to act with wisdom.”
The Algerian foreign ministry had previously summoned the Moroccan ambassador over remarks the Moroccan envoy to the UN had made backing the separatist movement in Algeria.
Rabat has not provided a response to Algiers questions. This is believed to have exacerbated the row between the two countries and led to Algeria severing all ties.
Morocco has also been accused of using Israeli technology to spy on journalists and foreign officials, including Algerian military and political leaders. The Moroccan government denies this.
The already fractious relations between Algeria and Morocco over Western Sahara has worsened recently with Rabat re-establishing diplomatic relations with Israel.