Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayed in Algiers address problem with Morocco
Algeria-Morocco, Politics, 11/10/1999
Arab efforts are being made and particularly on the part of Saudi Arabia to bring closer the standpoints of Morocco and Algeria, but it is difficult to speak of a mediation between the two brotherly and neighboring countries. The statement was made by Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, United Arab Emirates minister of information and envoy of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultane Al-Nahyan at a news conference he held in Algiers on Tuesday at the end of a visit to Algeria.
The UAE official said it is up to Morocco and Algeria to decide on the settlement of pending issues of concern to them, underlining the two countries' determination to put an end to these problems and the need to join efforts to bring standpoints closer.
He conceded that the difficulties between Morocco and Algeria have existed for a long time and cannot be settled easily.
Relations between Morocco and Algeria soured over the past years in view of Algiers' direct involvement in the Sahara issue and borders between Morocco and Algeria have been closed since 1994 when evidence showed the involvement of Algerian-born French nationals in a terrorist attack against a luxury hotel in Marrakesh (southern Morocco), killing two Spanish tourists.
Winds of reconciliation between the two Maghreban nations started to blow after the election last April of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who multiplied good will statements towards Morocco.
On the morrow of his election, Bouteflika actually sent Morocco warm messages, vowing to improve neighborliness ties with the kingdom and to upgrade cooperation between the two countries. However, in the past weeks he charged Morocco of sheltering camps of Islamist extremist groups. Morocco rejected the accusations as baseless.
Sheikh Abdallah also said at the news conference that his talks in Algiers mainly focused on the UAE backing to some economic sectors in Algeria as well as on the situation in the Maghreb.
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