Asharq Al-Awsat: Algeria Says Ready to Settle Disputes With Morocco

Head of Algerian government has said that his country is ready to settle its disputes with neighboring Morocco in a bid to boost Arab Maghreb Union which is lagging behind other regional blocs.
In an interview carried out by Al Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, who will visit Saudi Arabia Nov.15-16, describes Morocco as “a brotherly country”, saying Algiers is “ready to settle its differences” with Rabat to give a new impetus to Arab Maghreb Union (UMA).
The Head of the Algerian government recognizes the existence of “divergences” between the two neighbors, saying that his country “prefers a global approach addressing all issues through a direct dialogue” so that the two countries can turn their attention to UMA invigoration, fulfilling the wishes of the two brotherly peoples.
Such remarks made on the eve of the trip of the Algerian official to Saudi Arabia come after a visit of paid last April to Riyadh by an advisor to President Bouteflika, seem to suggest that the Moroccan-Algerian relations will be at the center talks of Mr Sellal with Saudi officials.
Riyadh has offered many times a “mediation” between Rabat and Algiers to defuse the crisis and disagreements between the two neighboring countries over the Sahara issue.
For the Algerian Prime minister, this issue is in the hands of the United Nations and in the process of political negotiations between Morocco and polisario. “Algeria supports this process and hopes that these talks will be concluded as soon as possible and crowned with a final and just solution to this conflict”, said Mr. Sellal.
Algeria, which is hit by an unprecedented economic and financial crisis due to the fall in oil prices, has renewed contacts with Saudi Arabia, after a diplomatic crisis due to Algiers stand on the Syrian conflict and its refusal to include Lebanese Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations.
According to some analysts, Algeria is reaching to Saudi Arabia seeking assistance to overcome economic and financial crisis, but such rapprochement could also have positive impact on Algerian-Moroccan relations. It is fair to say that only time will tell whether Algiers flip-flap move will yield positive results.

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