Morocco wants to normalise Algeria ties

2011-11-18 10:06

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Tangiers - Morocco wants to fully normalise relations with its neighbour Algeria, strained for decades over the disputed Western Sahara region, the kingdom's foreign minister told AFP on Thursday.

"Whatever the differences, it's abnormal to not have a normal relationship with a neighbouring country", Taeib Fassi Fihri said following a meeting with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci on the sidelines of the Arab League meeting in Rabat.

Medelci said he was "pleased" to see relations between the two countries strengthening, adding that there should be a "roadmap" charting the future diplomatic course, Morocco's MAP news agency reported.

The border between the two countries was closed in 1994 following an Islamist militant attack in Marrakesh that Morocco blamed on the Algerian secret services.

Tensions in the border region occasionally flare and a July clash between Moroccan border guards and armed men coming from Algeria left one soldier dead.

But relations between Morocco and Algeria have been strained for decades by the long-running dispute over the Western Sahara.

Morocco's 1975 annexation of the territory, a former Spanish colony, sparked a war between its forces and Algerian-backed Polisario guerrillas.

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1991 but UN-sponsored talks on Western Sahara's future have since made no headway.

- SAPA
Read more on:    algeria  |  morocco  |  north africa
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