Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

2017-10-21 19:36
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rabat - Morocco has recalled its ambassador after the Algerian foreign minister accused the kingdom's banks of "laundering hashish money" in Africa, in the latest diplomatic spat between the North African rivals.

The foreign ministry said it also summoned Algeria's charge d'affaires in Rabat on Friday evening to protest the "very serious statements... concerning the African policy of the kingdom of Morocco."

Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel made his comments at a meeting of business leaders in Algiers on Friday, excerpts of which were widely circulated on social media.

He was discussing the sharp increase in investment by Moroccan banks in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years and their competition with Algerian lenders.

"Everybody knows that the Moroccan banks launder hashish money. The leaders of many African countries have told me this," Messahel said.

He went on to suggest that Royal Air Maroc, the kingdom's flag carrier, transported "more than just passengers."

Diplomatic rows 

The Moroccan foreign ministry said Messahel's comments displayed a "level of irresponsibility unprecedented in the history of bilateral relations".

They "testify to a deep and inexplicable ignorance of the basic workings of the banking system and civil aviation", it added.

The North African neighbours have been at loggerheads for decades over the Western Sahara, a territory disputed between Morocco and Algeria-backed independence movement, the Polisario Front.

They have frequent diplomatic rows and their land border has been closed since 1994.

Northern Morocco is a key producer of hashish for export to Europe.

While Moroccan law bans the sale and consumption of the drug, that has not stopped farmers growing vast plantations of it, providing a living for some 90,000 households, according to official figures for 2013, the most recent available.

Smoking hashish is seen as part of local culture, and is largely tolerated by the authorities.

Read more on:    algeria  |  morocco  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.