Algeria – Morocco: diplomatic rupture consummated, Moroccan planes banned

Algeria has banned its airspace to all Moroccan planes. A new surge of anger from Algiers less than a month after the unilateral severance of all diplomatic relations with Morocco.

The country has decided to close its airspace “immediately” to all Moroccan civil and military planes, as well as to aircraft registered in Morocco. Reasons given: “provocations and hostile practices on the Moroccan side”, but the Algerian government did not provide more details.

In the immediate future, this decision will affect Moroccan aircraft whose journeys fly over Algerian territory. And that’s all. Because for a year and a half, Algeria’s air borders have been practically closed due to the health crisis. They only reopened on June 1 to only seven countries. And Morocco was not one of the elected officials.

Since March 2020, Algerians have therefore been traveling to Morocco via Tunisia.

Relations between Algeria and its neighbor have deteriorated especially because of the issue of Western Sahara, a vast desert territory disputed by Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, supported by Algiers.

The question of Western Sahara, former Spanish colony, considered as a “non-autonomous territory” by the UN in the absence of a final settlement, has for decades opposed Morocco to the separatists of the Polisario Front, supported by Algeria . Rabat proposes an autonomy plan under its sovereignty while the Polisario demands a self-determination referendum under the aegis of the UN.

The recent normalization of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel had also heightened tensions with Algeria, which supports the Palestinian cause.

Algiers further accused Morocco and Israel of supporting the MAK (Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylia), an independentist organization, as well as the Islamo-conservative organization Rachad, two movements classified as “terrorists” by Algeria and who are based abroad.

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