Algeria’s army chief accused neighboring Morocco of conspiring against his country and vowed a “rigorous, firm” response, in a speech he delivered Tuesday at an army base near their border.
“This expansionist regime has gone too far in its conspiracies and subversive propaganda campaigns, which aim to reduce Algeria’s regional role, exhaust its capacities, prevent its development and undermine the unity of its people,” Said Chanegriha said, in a speech published on the defense ministry’s website.
Relations have soured between the two North African nations in recent months and Algeria on August 24 cut diplomatic ties with Rabat, accusing it of “hostile actions.”
Last week it also banned all Moroccan aircraft from entering its airspace.
Chanegriha said Algeria’s “enemies” had recruited “traitors” as spies in order to “weaken Algeria from the inside and pressure it to renounce its principles.”
Algeria accuses Morocco and Israel of backing the separatist MAK movement, which seeks independence for the restive Kabylie region, and the Islamist Rachad movement, both listed as terrorist organizations by Algiers.
Morocco normalized ties with Israel last year in a US-backed deal that also saw Washington recognize Rabat’s sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara.
Morocco sees the former Spanish colony as part of its sovereign territory, but the Polisario movement has continued to demand an independence referendum there as per a 1991 ceasefire deal.
Algeria has for decades hosted Polisario leaders and the issue has caused repeated diplomatic crises between the two countries.
Morocco’s normalization with Israel sparked anger in Algiers, which has supported the Palestinian cause and accused Rabat of using Israeli spyware against its officials.
Algeria’s army chief said Tuesday his country was “ready to face, with rigour and firmness, all sinister plans” against Algeria.