Alleged Remark by Moroccan Diplomat Evokes Ire in Algiers
The Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned Morocco’s ambassador for a clarification over remarks attributed to the Moroccan consul-general in the city of Oran, who is said to have called Algeria an “enemy country.” According to the official Algeria Press Service, the consul-general was speaking outside the consulate to Moroccan citizens demanding they be allowed to go home due to the coronavirus pandemic. A Foreign Ministry statement said in part: “The qualification by the consul general… if it is to be established as true… is a serious violation of diplomatic habits and customs, which cannot be tolerated.” According to Moroccan media reports, the diplomat denied making the remark. Relations between the two countries are not considered the best, primarily because Algeria is known to support the Polisario Front, which is seeking independence for a region known as Western Sahara, which Morocco unilaterally annexed following a withdrawal by Spain in 1975. Algeria and Morocco also imposed visa and movement restrictions along their common border after Rabat blamed Algiers of having been behind a 1994 attack that killed two Spanish nationals in Marrakech.