Although the algerian government has not yet given an official answer in response to the Moroccan call for the reopening of land borders, several statements issued clearly indicate the necessity to resolve the issue.
Kaci Racelma our correspondent in Algiers
In a recent interview with Reuters, Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, did not dismiss the possibility of reopening the border, in view of ” links of brotherhood which go far back in the history of both countries “.
On the question of a possible reopening of the border between the two countries, Abdelaziz Bouteflika considered that it is possible and even desirable for “cultural, social and economic” reasons.
The Algerian government pleaded, for “a lasting solution” to the problem which restricts the free movement of people between Algeria and Morocco. Also saying that although the decision to reopen the borders might be simple to take “the Algerian citizen, once on Moroccan soil, has to be guaranteed of free and dignified circulation”, asserted Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, algerian interior minister. Thus, welcoming Morocco’s call for the re-opening of the common land border.
Morocco imposed visa requirements on Algerian nationals after a terrorist attack in Marrakesh in 1994, led Morocco to accuse Algeria as the main instigators behind the attack.
For the algerian head of state, it is important to resolve the problems which essentially hampers the reconstruction of The Maghreb, as well as bilateral relations.
Algeria considers that the reopening of the border should come along with a balance in economic exchanges. Noureddine. Zerhouni indicated the necessity for a fair and clear balance between the two countries. From the smuggling of goods and products subsidized by the Algerian government, towards Morocco on one hand, and imitated products introduced from Morocco to Algeria on the other hand. Another problem the minister called attention to, is the trafficking of drugs and weapons, calling for solutions through the meeting of expert joint committees.
Other issues which remain unsolved are consular and administrative relations, since the independence of both countries. A huge numbers of each others’ nationals live on the others’ territory.
In the moroccan side the closed border between the two countries is considered to be contrary to the aspirations of the people of the Maghreb. The economic impact of the closure of the borders on Oujda and its neighbouring regions, in particular, has been consequential, affecting the standard of living of a huge number of storekeepers.
The land border will remain closed until the two countries have agreed upon a “package of deals”, including a solution to the Western Sahara conflict which is dependent on the UN resolutions.