After months of high tensions between Algeria and Morocco, Algiers announced the cessation of diplomatic relations with Rabat. The Algerian government accuses the Moroccan kingdom of constantly carrying out hostile actions against Algeria, of waging war against the Algerian people and its leaders.
The disagreements between the two countries over Western Sahara, the normalisation of relations between Morocco and Israel, and most recently in July, Morocco's call at the United Nations for the independence of the people of Kabylia in the Algerian region, have taken toll on the diplomatic ties of the two neighbouring countries.
“Algeria rejects to be subjected to such acts and behaviors. Algeria also rejects the logic of the unilateral policies with their disastrous consequences on the peoples of the Maghreb region. Algeria reject to maintain abnormality which aims at retaining the countries of the Maghreb region within a constant state of insecurity," said Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.
The Kingdom of Morocco had criticised the move by Algeria and labelled it "completely unjustified but expected" unilateral decision.
At the end of July, King Mohamed VI had complained about the "tensions" with Algeria, and invited Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune "to allow wisdom prevail" while justifying his latest political positions.
"Morocco, like some of the Arab Maghreb countries, is facing deliberate and premeditated aggression. Clinging to pre-established positions and obsolete considerations, the enemies of the Kingdom's territorial integrity do not want Morocco to remain the free, strong and influential nation it has always been," he declared.
Algiers also accuses Rabat of complicity in the huge forest fires that have killed at least 90 people in the north of the country, in Kabylia.
In the Moroccan capital, the inhabitants express their regret regarding this break in diplomatic relations:
"It's a bad decision, there is no reason to do it, it's like cutting relations with your neighbour living next door to you. We are all part of the Maghreb union: Algeria, Tunisia... we are all the same, there is no difference, as this (cutting ties) happened only on the governments' level," said a bus driver.
Relations between Algiers and Rabat have been fraught in past decades, especially over the flashpoint issue of the disputed Western Sahara.Morocco considers the former Spanish colony an integral part of its kingdom, but Algeria has backed the Polisario movement which seeks independence there.