Algeria breaks diplomatic ties with Morocco due to “hostile acts”: how have tensions between the two countries escalated?

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Algeria has cut its diplomatic relations with Morocco, according to what Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra declared on Tuesday at a press conference in which accused to your neighbor from “hostile acts”.

Lamamra blamed Morocco for using the Pegasus spy program against its officials, to support a separatist group and to breach bilateral commitments, even in the territorial dispute in Western Sahara.

“The Moroccan kingdom has never ceased its hostile actions against Algeria,” said the senior official, announcing the immediate cessation of diplomatic relations. However, consulates in each country will remain open, he added.

Morocco’s response

The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a release posted on social media regretting the decision, “completely unjustified but expected, in view of the escalation logic observed in recent weeks.

Likewise, Rabat stated that it would continue to be a “sincere and loyal partner” of the Algerian people.

Morocco has also rejected the espionage allegations and denies possessing the Pegasus ‘software’.

How tensions have escalated

The border that separates the two nations has been closed since 1994, however diplomatic relations have not been severed since they were reestablished in 1988 after a previous dispute.

Morocco has been saying for years that it wants the border to be reopened. Algeria has said it must remain closed for security reasons.

Last week Algeria claimed to have evidence of Morocco’s cooperation with two organizations that it has described as terrorist groups, including the MAK group, which seeks the independence of the Kabyle region and which, according to Algeria, would be involved in the forest fires that they razed the forests and killed 90 people, including 30 soldiers.

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Algeria withdrew its ambassador last month, after a Moroccan diplomat in New York called for the right of self-determination for the people of Kabylia.

Morocco offered to send aid to fight the fires, but there was no response from Algeria.

Relations have deteriorated since last year, when the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for the Western Sahara region of Morocco, declared that it was resuming its armed struggle. Algeria has openly supported this independence movement.

In December, the United States recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat improve its relations with Israel.

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