Civil society in Morocco, Algeria urge ‘return to reason’ after ties cut

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More than 200 Moroccan and Algerian civil society figures on Saturday appealed for a “return to reason” following the decision of Algiers to cut diplomatic ties with Rabat.

Intellectuals, academics and other civil society actors, most of them Moroccan, signed a petition rejecting the “current situation which could lead to an unnatural confrontation... contrary to the interests of the two peoples and the region”.

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The signatories called for a “return to reason” and “moves against escalation and hatred”.

Late last month, Algeria announced it was cutting diplomatic ties with Morocco, accusing it of “hostile actions” after months of high tensions between the North African rivals.

Morocco has called the severing of ties “completely unjustified” and said the decision was based on “false, even absurd pretexts”.

Relations between Algiers and Rabat have been fraught in past decades, especially over the flashpoint issue of the disputed Western Sahara, where Algeria backs the pro-independence Polisario Front.

In July, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI deplored the tensions and invited Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune “to make wisdom prevail” and “work in unison for the development of relations” between the neighboring countries.

Rabat had severed diplomatic relations with Algeria in 1976 for several years after Algiers recognized the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), proclaimed by the Polisario.

The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

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