Morocco “will never harm its neighbors”, says the head of government

“There is nothing in what Morocco is doing politically, diplomatically or militarily to assert its sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara that would target Algeria in any way,” the head of the country’s executive told Asharq News in response to his Algerian counterpart who considered that the Rabat-Tel-Aviv agreement was a danger.

In an interview on Saturday 19 December on the Asharq News channel, the Moroccan head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, replied to his Algerian counterpart, Abdelaziz Djerad, who considered in a statement to the press that the agreement to normalize relations between the Cherifian kingdom and Israel constituted a definite “danger” to Algerian national security.

“There is nothing in what Morocco is doing politically, diplomatically or militarily to assert its sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara that would target Algeria in any way,” El Othmani said, stressing that the agreement reached with Israel “was not at all oriented against our Algerian brothers”.

What about the Algerian point of view?

On the geostrategic and security level, Algeria is anxious about its national security. Since Libya’s destruction in 2011 following the intervention of NATO under French instigation, the entire Algerian border strip has further ignited.

Indeed, its borders with Tunisia, Libya, Mali, and Niger have become highly dangerous areas due to the growing presence of Islamist terrorists, especially those who have recently arrived from the combat zones in Syria and Iraq. Turkey’s role, a member of NATO and ally of Israel, and “Zionist NGOs” in the transport of these fighters has been pointed out several times by Algerian security officials.

In this context, the agreement signed between Morocco and Israel under the auspices of the United States, in return for Donald Trump’s recognition of the sovereignty of the Cherifian kingdom over Western Sahara territory, was frowned upon by the Algerian authorities for several reasons.

The first is that it intervened almost a month after the Moroccan military intervention at the El Guerguerat border crossing, in the demilitarized buffer zone in the far south of Western Sahara. An intervention that led the Polisario Front to announce its withdrawal from the ceasefire agreement signed with the UN and Morocco in 1991, thus opening the door to a probable military conflagration in this region.

Morocco tries to reassure

Thus, the arrival of Israel in Morocco after having reestablished its relations, with American support, with Chad, Sudan, and probably again with Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, is perceived as a danger by the United States. Algeria, which sees itself completely surrounded by an arc of fire, could have serious consequences on its national security.

“It is the armed combat which will determine the Saharawi cause”, retorts the Polisario Front to Trump – exclusive. Indeed, during a press statement, Abdelaziz Djerad affirmed that “Algeria is targeted”.

“When we tell citizens that there are operations abroad aimed at the stability of the country, here is the proof, when we see that dangers and wars surround us,” he added, stressing that “There is a will to bring the Israeli and Zionist entity back to our borders.” This issue of normalizing relations with Israel is taken very seriously by Algerians because it also includes, in addition to economic cooperation, collaboration in security, intelligence, and military technology.

While assuring that the Cherifian kingdom “will never harm its neighbors”, Saad Eddine El Othmani recalled that “king Mohamed VI has, on many occasions, launched appeals to the address of our Algerian brothers to settle all problems by submitting them to discussions in order to find solutions in a fraternal framework”.

The positions

Algeria refuses to normalize its relations with Israel as long as the Palestinian people’s rights to freedom, independence, and the building of a viable state with East Jerusalem as its capital are not respected. It also supports a referendum on self-determination for the Saharawi people in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

For its part, Morocco has indicated that it maintains the same principled positions of support for the Palestinian cause in accordance with the initiative of the League of Arab States in 2002, stressing that the agreement with Israel in no way calls into question this commitment.

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