Skip to main content

Morocco accused of dragging Israel into 'hazardous adventure' against Algeria

Algeria's foreign ministry claims attacks on the country's regional role are being directed by Rabat
Morocco is one of four Middle East and North African countries that normalised relations with Israel in 2020 (AFP/File photo)

Algeria has accused Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita of wanting to drag his "new Middle Eastern ally into a hazardous adventure" against Algiers.

In an apparent reference to Israel, the Algerian foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday that there had been "fallacious and malicious statements made in Morocco regarding Algeria and its regional role as well as its relations with a third country".

The statement came days after Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco, where he inaugurated a diplomatic office in Rabat.

During the visit, Lapid said he and Bourita discussed shared "worries about the role played by Algeria in the region". The Israeli foreign minister also said the concerns were based on Algeria "getting close to Iran".

He went on to attack the campaign launched by Algeria and a number of other Arab countries against the African Union's decision to grant Israel observer status.

Algeria recalls ambassador to Morocco over Western Sahara tensions
Read More »

The Algerian foreign ministry claimed the statements were "instigated by Nasser Bourita, in his capacity as minister of foreign affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco", while considering that these comments reflect Bourita's desire "to drag his new Middle Eastern ally into a hazardous adventure against Algeria, its values and its principled positions".

The Moroccan foreign ministry and the Moroccan embassy in Washington did not respond to Middle East Eye's request for comment by the time of publication.

Morocco is one of the four Middle East and North African countries, along with Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, that normalised relations with Israel in 2020.

Rabat's decision to normalise relations with Israel came after then-US President Donald Trump recognised Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed and divided former Spanish colony.

Morocco and Algeria have had tense relations for decades, and land borders between the two countries have been shut since the early 1990s, aggravating the friction between Algiers and Rabat.

Last month, the Algerian foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Morocco in the latest flare-up of tensions between the North African neighbours over the fate of the disputed Western Sahara, which is claimed by Morocco as well as the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.

In its statement on Sunday, Algiers said Morocco was trying to "distort the decolonial nature of the Western Sahara conflict" by adding "a new actor represented by a Middle Eastern military force that continues to refuse peace" with the Palestinian people.