No special problem between Algeria and Morocco, President Bouteflika says
Algeria-Morocco, Politics, 6/9/1999
"Algeria has no special problems with brotherly Morocco," Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said.
Algeria has no special problem with Morocco regarding either the Sahara issue or the borders, Bouteflika told Jordanian daily Al-Rai (Opinion).
Regarding the Sahara, the issue is posed in terms of the right to self-determination in the context of the implementation of the United Nations resolutions and the Houston accords, as they were accepted and signed by the parties (Morocco and Polisario), Bouteflika said.
Relations between Morocco and Algeria have been strained in the past years over the Sahara issue, because of Algiers' direct involvement in the conflict, while the U.N. settlement plan confers it only an observer status.
Touching on Moroccan-Algerian borders, Bouteflika said the issue is already settled by the Ifrane Treaty (January 1969), and consecrated by the signing of a border-drawing convention during the summit of the Organization of African Unity held in Rabat (June 1972). The convention, he said, was deposited at the U.N and ratified by the two countries.
Algeria closed borders with Morocco in 1994 in retaliation to a Moroccan move to impose entry visas on Algerian nationals wishing to visit Morocco. Morocco took the decision after evidence showed that Algerian-born French nationals perpetrated a terrorist attack against a luxury hotel in Marrakesh, killing two Spanish tourists.
Morocco has repeatedly called on Algeria to reopen the borders, but the call has so far been unheeded by the Algerians.
In his interview, President Bouteflika said "there is no contention" between the two countries whether at bilateral or international level.
The Algerian head of state conceded that bilateral relations are not at the desired level. But, he added, "No problem is insoluble." When there is good will, sincerity, faith in the shared destiny and objectivity a new vision emerges and all obstacles are lowered, he said.
Bouteflika, who recalled that he has known King Hassan II since the Liberation War, said, "Neither Morocco nor Algeria has ever done anything insulting the future."
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