Algeria Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Morocco Over ‘Hostile Actions’
Algeria’s foreign minister announced Tuesday that the country was cutting diplomatic relations with Morocco, effective immediately, accusing its neighbor to the west of “hostile actions.” The consulates in each country will remain open, however. Algeria has accused “terrorist” groups of setting the forest fires that burned 62,000 hectares (239 square miles), killing at least 90 people, and says that at least one of these groups, specifically the Movement for Self-determination of Kabylie, is backed by Morocco. Algeria also has accused Morocco of spying on its officials and citizens using the Pegasus spyware created by the Israeli NSO Group. The normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel also has generated tension, since the US recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of the accord. The two countries have had a difficult relationship over decades, most of it centering around Western Sahara. Algeria backs the Polisario movement that is trying to gain independence for Western Sahara; Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its kingdom. The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed for nearly 30 years.