BY FRENCH PRESS AGENCY – AFP
CAIRO MID-EAST AUG 26, 2021 1:10 PM GMT+3Moroccan security forces stand guard as Moroccan farmers protest in the city of Figuig after Algerian authorities expelled date growers from the Algerian territory, a border area they are traditionally authorized to farm, March 18, 2021. (AFP Photo)
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Arab League and Saudi Arabia called for “dialogue” Wednesday to resolve arguments between neighboring Algeria and Morocco after Algiers cut diplomatic ties with Rabat.
Algeria said Tuesday it had cut diplomatic relations with Morocco because of “hostile actions,” following months of resurgent tensions between the North African rivals.
The OIC “called for dialogue to resolve any possible differences,” a statement from the Jeddah-based organization said Wednesday. Saudi Arabia called on both nations “to prioritize dialogue” to help “achieve security and stability,” a foreign ministry statement read.
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged “both countries to exercise restraint and to avoid further escalation” in a statement late Tuesday.
Libya, which borders Algeria, said it “deeply regrets” the deterioration of relations and asked for “restraint,” in a statement from its foreign ministry. Tripoli also called for regional talks on the sidelines of the next Arab League meeting, scheduled for Sept. 7 to 9 in Cairo.
Algiers has long been at odds with Rabat particularly over the Western Sahara – a former Spanish colony Morocco sees as an integral part of its territory – but where Algiers has supported the Polisario Front independence movement.
Their rivalry took a new twist last year when outgoing United States President Donald Trump recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory – in exchange for Morocco normalizing ties with Israel.
For Algeria, that amounted to Rabat “introducing a foreign military force into the Maghreb,” in the words of Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra Tuesday. Morocco’s foreign ministry bit back, saying Algiers’ move was “completely unjustified.”