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  1. #15
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    Nassima Oulebsir :


    Dimanche 23 Mars 2008 -- La première réaction officielle de l’Algérie quant à la demande du royaume du Maroc portant sur la réouverture de la frontière émane du ministre de l’Intérieur et des Collectivités locales. M. Nourdine Yazid Zerhouni a affirmé que cette demande ne peut être examinée ni même traitée séparément des autres dossiers en suspens entre les deux pays qui entrent dans le cadre d’une vision globale du Grand Maghreb.

    Le ministre de l’Intérieur, qui intervenait en marge d’une séance de formation destinée aux P/APC tenue hier à Alger, a également insisté sur le fait que l’Algérie est parfaitement attaché à l’édification du Grand Maghreb. «Il ne s’agit pas de construire un Maghreb où les uns gagnent et les autres perdent. Le Maghreb ne se limite pas seulement au Maroc et à l’Algérie. Il faut que tous les peuples qui se trouvent dans cet ensemble trouvent leur place», a indiqué M. Zerhouni tout en affirmant que les «citoyens maghrébins ont pour ambition de voir cela se concrétiser».

    Pour le ministre, le problème de la circulation des personnes et des biens aux frontières «ne peut être dissocié d’une approche globale de ce que nous voulons faire de notre Maghreb». Les citoyens maghrébins sont pour une démarche unitaire, cohérente et complémentaire, a-t-il précisé avant d’ajouter qu’il faut absolument voir quels sont les mécanismes les plus appropriés dans ce sens.

    Est-il donc facile pour l’Algérie d’entretenir des relations normales avec un pays qui continue de mener des campagnes de diffamation sur la question du Sahara occidental ? La réouverture de la frontière algéro-marocaine est une affaire isolée et doit impérativement être posée dans un cadre général, a indiqué le ministre. Il a indiqué que également que la réouverture de la frontière terrestre est l’un des facteurs importants qui contribuent à la consécration des aspirations des peuples maghrébins et c’est dans cette optique précise que la question devrait être posée.

    De nombreux observateurs ont estimé que la demande marocaine ne dépasse pas le stade d’une déclaration destinée aux médias. Dès lors que les relations et les dossiers concernant les deux pays sont codifiés par des conventions, des commissions mixtes et des sous-commissions spécialisées, ce type de demande ne devrait pas être suivie d’effet. Car la normalisation entre Alger et Rabat, à laquelle appelle le royaume du Maroc, ne semble pas tenir compte des règles et usages en vigueur dans les relations diplomatiques entre les deux pays, notent encore les observateurs.

    Pour rappel, le Maroc a appelé l’Algérie, jeudi dernier à travers un communiqué de son ministère des Affaires étrangères, à rouvrir sa frontière terrestre et à œuvrer pour «une normalisation des relations bilatérales». «Le royaume du Maroc réitère sa volonté d’ouvrir une nouvelle page dans les relations entre les deux pays voisins tenant compte de leur passé commun et de leur destin partagé», peut-on lire dans le communiqué marocain.

    Depuis quatorze ans la frontière terrestre est fermée, suite à la décision marocaine d’instaurer le visa pour les Algériens au lendemain d’un attentat à la bombe ayant visé un hôtel dans la ville de Casablanca. Rabat avait accusé l’Algérie d’avoir commandité l’attentat.

  2. #16
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    March 23, 2008 -- Speaking on Saturday (March 22nd), Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni welcomed Moroccan authorities' call to re-open the common border but said the matter is not urgent, local press reported.

    "The question of movement across the border cannot be separated from a global approach on how we want our Maghreb to be," APS quoted the minister as saying.

    The border was closed in 1994, after Rabat accused Algerian security forces of involvement in a Marrakesh shooting and imposed visa requirements on Algerian nationals.

    Algiers has said before that the border will remain closed until the two countries agree upon a "package of deals", including a solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

    "It's not a question of building a Maghreb where some win and others lose. The Maghreb is not limited to Morocco and Algeria. All the peoples who find themselves in this group should have their place," Zerhouni said.

    The closed border hinders trade in the region. Moroccan authorities have estimated that the country loses up to $1 billion per year in trade and tourism revenue because of the closure.

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    March 24, 2008 -- Two days after both countries concluded the latest round of talks in New York with the Polisario Front over Western Sahara, Morocco called for the opening of its shared border with Algeria and the normalisation of relations between the two nations.

    A communiqué issued on Thursday (March 20th) by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The Kingdom of Morocco reiterates its willingness to open a new page in the relationship between the two neighbouring countries, taking into account their common past and shared destiny." The ministry added, however, that some of Algeria's "statements have indicated that finding a definitive solution to the question of the Moroccan Sahara is a prerequisite."

    The border between the two countries was closed in 1994 when Morocco accused Algeria of involvement in a Marrakech hotel shooting and then decided to impose visa restrictions on Algerian nationals. Although visa requirements were later lifted by both countries, the border was not reopened. Rabat believes that the regional and international context in which the decision to close the border was originally taken no longer applies.

    Algeria, meanwhile, has repeatedly said the border would remain closed until the two countries agree upon a "package of deals", including a solution to the Western Sahara conflict. But when asked at the beginning of March whether he would consider re-opening the shared border, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika told Reuters that such a move was desirable in view of what he called the "ties of sisterhood which go back a long way in the history of both countries".

    To Moroccan officials, the closed border between the two countries is contrary to the aspirations of the people of the Maghreb and detrimental to peace and development within the region. Speaking Thursday night on the Al Hurra network, foreign minister Taib Fassi Fihri said, "Now more than ever we need co-ordination, economic integration, an open border and political consultations regarding security and the other risks the region faces. We hope that the two countries will be able to overcome obstacles such as the Saharan question."

    Algerian Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni welcomed Morocco's call to re-open the common border but said a global approach is needed to address the issue. "The Maghreb is not limited to Morocco and Algeria. All the peoples who find themselves in this group should have their place," he told APS on Saturday (March 22nd).

    Moroccan international relations professor Mohamed Madidi agreed that regional unity is critical, especially for economic growth and the campaign against terrorism. "Only by forgetting all its differences can the Arab Maghreb become strong and tackle the threats it faces. Morocco and Algeria need to enter into serious dialogue on a number of issues, beginning with the Western Sahara, for which a solution needs to be found imminently," he told Magharebia.

    Many Moroccans citizens are also keen to see a united Maghreb. IT specialist Mounir Malih hopes that Algerian officials will realise the time of separation is over and focus on ways of building a stable future for the people of the Maghreb.

    An open land border will be beneficial to both countries, said teacher Asmaa Batteoui, provided that monitoring is in place to tackle arms and drug trafficking, which feed terrorist activity in the Maghreb.

    "On top of that, at the human level," she added, "mixed Moroccan-Algerian families will be able to see each other again and will no longer be separated by a closed border."

  4. #18
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  5. #19
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    March 28, 2008 -- Not much will change whether the borders between Algeria and Morocco are reopened or not. The neighboring countries did not have normal relations before the sealing of the land borders in the summer of 1994, and this will not improve much if the situation were to return to normal.

    All that can be done is to yield to the wishes of the inhabitants of the border strip, who have ties of kinship and social relations with each other. Although the benefits of border economy may bring prosperity and cement coexistence, the Algerians are attentive, according to official reports, to the fact that reopening the border with Morocco will ensure an influx of inhabitants and stimulate tourism, with the balance of trade tipping in Morocco's favor. The fact is that the wager of their Moroccan neighbors, to stand up to smugglers and illegal immigrants, has stopped at the border strip, at the barrier prohibiting any step forward into the other direction.

    Who said that relations between neighboring states follow the rhythm of commercial gain? Aside from mutual benefit, when customs barriers disappear, allowing for the influx of human capital and the interplay of cultural ties, they will produce mutual trust between populations which will reach beyond the restraints of political disputes. What is firmly established is that the border issues, which were supposed to be the focus of economic and commercial cooperation, as well as political coordination between the two neighboring countries, have formed a "center of gravity" with the constant crises surrounding them. The border demarcation and friendship convention signed in 1972 between Morocco and Algeria was unable to avert the complications of political disputes.

    However, victory, at the regional and international level, is no longer measured by scoring points against the opponent, but rather by the ability to adapt to the transformations of the age, such as the shortening of distances, the abolition of borders and the globalization of interests. All this talk of historic relations and shared destiny becomes meaningless when an Algerian citizen is forced to cross thousands of kilometers by plane and by land to maintain family relations with relatives living a few meters away behind the border. In turn, the Moroccan citizen must cross the same distance to reach the nearest location to Colonel Lutfi's village, forgotten at the border.

    Such a scene seems quite surreal, and is rendered even more ambiguous by Morocco's leaders giving in to feelings that remind us that there exists a politically crippled, fading institution called the Arab Maghreb Union, despite the fact that its recommendations and resolutions are unable to convince the border police that Moroccan citizens are moving freely in a nonexistent space. The point is not to revoke or impose the visa system, as administrative procedures become meaningless when the border is sealed off. The dreams of establishing a common market for the Maghreb, of achieving economic complementarity and of unifying commercial laws and educational systems may become vexing when one wakes up to a reality of division, fragmentation and endless quarrels.

    Sealing the borders between Algeria and Morocco had at the time been an understandable reaction to the decision to impose the visa system on citizens of Algerian origin. However, reactions are not political in themselves. It was plausible that the mere cancellation of the visa system would have led to reopening the border, the reason for its sealing having disappeared. However, the issue of the visa remained the stumbling block. The least that could have been expected is that reopening the border would have ensured a smooth start to a dialogue over more complex issues. Previous experience has shown that the two neighboring countries renewed diplomatic ties even at the height of the Western Sahara conflict. For dialogue does not take place when rupture is in effect. Whatever the extent of the disputes, it does not justify a return to the logic of rupture.

    The Arab Maghreb Union was established in parallel with the détente in relations between Rabat and Algiers. And then it collapsed in light of the widening chasm between the positions of the two countries. Paradoxically, the views diverged on the issue of the Maghreb construction between those who seek an Arab Maghreb for the people and those who seek an Arab Maghreb for corporations. Today, these views meet as such a construction foundered at both its popular and official level. However, the price of conflicting views is paid by populations who are separated by borders and barriers. It is not in the interest of the whole region to add to the indications of lack of trust, as political disputes, whatever their nature, can be settled through dialogue. However, it would be most dangerous if this were to reflect on the relations that exist between populations, carving deep divides and scarring the face of history.

    Whether the border is reopened, or whether it remains sealed for yet another generation of Moroccans and Algerians is not a problem as long as the region has grown accustomed to adapting to its own crises. One fears that the sealed border will become the rule, whose exception is the unhindered flow of human and material resources. For there is another history that is being written with the ink of lost opportunities. It is time to correct it with the ink of brotherhood, friendship and understanding.

  6. #20
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    Samedi 29 Mars 2008 -- Rabat a rendu les autorités algériennes responsables de l’échec des négociations avec le Front Polisario, moins d’une semaine après son appel à rouvrir les frontières entre l’Algérie et le Maroc, fermées officiellement depuis 1994. Rabat a également appelé Alger à adhérer à ce qu’elle a qualifié : « l’opération pacifique ».

    Le ministre de l’Intérieur marocain, M. Chakib Moussa, a affirmé, avant-hier, que la solution de la question du Polisario dépend du dialogue entre le Maroc et l’Algérie, vu que cette dernière est une partie principale dans le conflit (…) et qu’il est impossible de trouver une solution définitive à ce problème sans son adhésion à « l’opération pacifique ». Il a ajouté que « l’Algérie n’a aucune volonté de résoudre le problème du Sahara occidental, fabriqué de toute pièce ».

    Ces déclarations interviennent, mois d’une semaine après que le ministère des Affaires étrangères marocain ait appelé à rouvrir les frontières entre les deux pays que l’Algérie a fermées après que les autorités Marocaines aient imposé un visa aux Algériens, suite à l’attaque terroriste contre un hôtel à Casablanca à l’été 1994.

    Dans une interview qu’il a accordée au journal émirati Al Khalidj, publiée jeudi dernier, le président du Conseil de la nation algérien a indiqué que « le conflit entre le Maroc et le Front Polisario est un conflit bilatéral, il a ses origines et il relève de la compétence des Nations Unies ».

    Le président du Conseil de la nation a qualifié l’appel de Rabat à rouvrir les frontières d’étrange et il a déclaré que « ce n’est qu’une partie du problème et elle est utilisée de façon imprécise ». Il a aussi indiqué que les relations et les contacts humains entre les deux pays existent toujours, ainsi que les déplacements terrestres et maritimes, en plus des relations commerciales et économiques. Il a ajouté que les échanges entre les deux pays sont en permanente augmentation.

  7. #21
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    Mercredi 2 avril 2008 -- Des munitions d’armes d’assaut made in Morocco et de la poudre noire en très grande quantité ont été saisies la semaine dernière dans la wilaya de Tlemcen par les services de sécurité. Plusieurs personnes, dont on ignore encore le nombre exact, de plusieurs localités de la wilaya de Tlemcen (une résidant à Souani sur les frontières) agissant en soutien aux groupes terroristes, ont été arrêtées la semaine dernière pour importation interdite, détention et commercialisation de munitions destinées aux armes d’assaut et de la poudre noire pour la fabrication de grenades.

    Selon des sources crédibles, ce matériel militaire porte la marque des forces armées royales. « Quand on sait que ce type d’armement est sacrément contrôlé chez les voisins de l’autre côté de la frontière, on est en droit de se poser des questions sérieuses. » Des observateurs avertis s’interrogent : « Comment voulez-vous parler de réouverture des frontières terrestres quand la preuve de l’introduction par le Maroc d’armes de guerre dans notre pays est là ? » L’enquête et les investigations menées secrètement dans cette affaire jugée très délicate suivent leur cours.

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