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Qatar Says Open to Bridge Differences Between Algeria and Morocco

Algeria had severed its ties with Morocco in 2021 over what it described as “hostile actions” against it.

Qatar has reportedly expressed an “openness to any official request” to bridge differences between Algeria and Morocco on Tuesday, in a move that could potentially break a years-long deadlock that was triggered by Algiers’s suspension of ties with its neighbour.

The remarks were made during a weekly press briefing led by the Gulf state’s foreign ministry’s spokesperson Dr. Majed Al Ansari, during which he responded to a question raised by Al Quds Al Arabi on mediation efforts between Algiers and Rabat.

The news outlet reported that its query focused on the latest exchange of separate messages between the Gulf state and the two countries, which has raised speculations over a possible Qatari mediation. Algeria’s President Tebboune in Qatar for two-day ‘working visit’

Dr. Al Ansari confirmed the messages were merely related to bilateral relations though stressed that “bridging the rift between brothers” remains “a major concern of the State of Qatar.”

“Inter-Arab relations must be based on mutual understanding, with Doha committed to any role that is requested from it or one that it could achieve within the framework of this regional vision,” Dr. Al Ansari responded, as quoted by Al Quds Al Arabi.

Speculations emerged last week when Morocco’s King Mohammed VI sent Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani a written message pertaining to bilateral relations. 

Just days later, the Qatari leader received a written message from Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune that also focused on bilateral relations, per a report by the Gulf state’s news agency.

The Algerian message also came weeks after President Tebboune’s visit to Qatar, though public statements and reports on the meetings between the Algerian and Qatari leaders made no mention of the spat between Algiers and Rabat.

Prolonged stalemate

Algeria severed ties with Morocco in 2021 over what it described as “hostile actions” against the country. At the time, Qatar expressed its “deep regret” and urged officials to maintain channels of dialogue to resolve the diplomatic feud. 

The long-running dispute involves a range of issues, including the Western Sahara territory, normalisation with Israel and wildfire. Unlike Morocco, Algeria staunchly refuses to normalise with Israel and has maintained its vocal stance in support of Palestine as it continues to face a decades-long occupation.

On the other hand, Morocco normalised relations with Israel in late 2020 amid a wave of regional normalisation with the occupying state, brokered by the former United States President Donald Trump.

Trump’s efforts led to the signing of the controversial Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The former US president recognised Morocco’s control over the Western Sahara region in exchange for its normalisation with Israel.

However, tensions regarding Israel’s recognition have continued to simmer years on.

“The decision… can in no way legitimise sovereignty over occupied Sahara lands”, the Algerian Foreign ministry said in July, referencing Israel’s recognition of Morocco’s control. In March, Algeria’s president told Al Jazeera that his country’s relations with Morocco have “reached the point of no return.”

“Our position is a response [to Morocco’s actions], we were never the ones who started [the problem],” Tebboune told the Qatar-based network. Tensions peaked in 2021 after forest fires engulfed the Kabylie region of Algeria. Algeria blamed “terrorist” groups for the wildfires – one of which it said was backed by Morocco. Algiers severed relations shortly after.

Source: Doha News