Bouteflika Congratulates King Mohammed VI on 30th Anniversary of AMU

Rabat – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika addressed a message to King Mohammed VI, expressing congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU).In the message, which was published by Algerian news agency APS, the Algerian leader said that he wanted to address a “warm congratulations and best wishes.”The message also wishes King Mohammed VI and his people “more progress and prosperity under” King Mohammed VI’s “enlightened leadership.” According to Bouteflika, the celebration of the anniversary offer the Maghreb countries the “pleasant opportunity to recall the bonds of brotherhood, solidarity and good neighborliness existing between Maghreb peoples and civilizational constants they share.”The diplomatic ties between Algeria and Morocco have long been described as tense due to Algeria’s stance regarding the Western Sahara conflict and Morocco’s territorial integrity.The border between the two “brotherly”  countries has been also closed since 1994. Algeria made the decision after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni hotel in Marrakech.Tension further grew between the two countries when Algeria began supporting the separatist group Polisario Front.King Mohammed VI, however, expressed hopes that dialogue would end the stalemate that  hampers the Maghreb unity project.On November 6, 2018, the King devoted the biggest part of his speech on the anniversary of the Green March to emphasize the importance of frank and direct dialogue to break the ice covering the frozen diplomatic ties between the two countries.Read Also: Dujarric: UN Very Supportive of Dialogue Between Algeria and MoroccoAlgeria, however, has not addressed any direct response. Instead, Algeria announced that it has requested an urgent meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) Foreign Affairs Ministers Council to build the “whole” Maghreb.In response, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement  weeks after Morocco’s dialogue offer, saying that the Algerian request for a meeting of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) foreign ministers is “unrelated to the royal initiative.” Morocco’s government stressed that the state of “lethargy that the AMU has known for years, is mainly due to the abnormal nature of Moroccan-Algerian relations, which can be treated only in the framework of a bilateral dialogue, direct and without intermediaries.”But, Algeria still reluctant to send a direct answer to Morocco’s dialogue initiative. Bouteflika’s recent message on the Maghreb Union added that Algeria is still committed to the “building of the Arab Maghreb Union as a strategic choice and popular demand to revitalize its institutions and structures and to defend common interests.”Morocco has no objection to holding meeting of the AMU.  However, Morocco’s government was hoping to receive an official reaction from Algeria instead. read more