By - Jamel Lahiani
Recent developments in Maghreb Arab such as Morocco joining the African Union as well as the Algerian movement to democracy and transparency have provided opportunities for Morocco and Algeria to cooperate. In fact, The relation between these two countries have a great future potential and perspective of development but how ended the ongoing icy diplomatic relations between the two governments?
In February 1989, the constitutive treaty of Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) was signed by Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania in Marrakech, aimed at creating a common economic market with free circulation of people and goods as well as a customs union similar to the European Union.
Rapidly, the land borders between Morocco and Algeria have been closed since 1994 and blocked the trade dynamic between the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) countries. Morocco, suspecting the involvement of Algeria’s secret services in the creation of security trouble in Marrakech, imposed visas on all Algerian nationals. Algeria responded by completely closing the land border between the two countries but the air border remains open. The origin of the two countries misunderstood is the conflict over Western Sahara. Algeria involved helping financially and politically the Polisario movement was against Morocco’s territorial integrity as Morocco said and called Algeria to Non-interference in internal affairs.
In 2007, Morocco proposed an Autonomy Plan to solve the conflict over Western Sahara that has the support of the UN Security Council and joined the African Union on January 31st, 2017 in the wish to reach a consensus acceptable to everyone.
Aftermath, successive initiatives were developed to reestablish the Morocco-Algeria relationship.
On November 12, 2018, the King Mohammed VI announced that Morocco is ready to strengthen diplomatic relations with Algeria through a new mechanism. Several days after authorized Algerian sources described the Moroccan initiative as a non-event.
On April 22, 2019, the actual Algerian movement to democracy and transparency has created an exceptional occasion for the two countries to resolve all the misunderstood.
On September 2, 2019, the two countries intellectuals launched an initiative, in the form of a petition, reiterating their call for the official reopening of the Moroccan-Algerian borders, and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The event of Algeria’s victory at the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN) was used from thousands of Moroccans to flocked at the borders and celebrate the victory of the Algerian national football team. A campaign on social media was created under the hashtag “KhawaKhawa” (brothers). The initiative aimed to convey the aspirations of these joint celebrations to the leaders of both countries.
The economic interests for the two countries exerted a strong attraction to reestablish the relationship. In fact, the border openness could be a factor for long-term stability and development and mutual understanding by intensifying trade. This could allow a winning of 1 % economic growth as estimated by a paper exposed during the IMF-World Bank 2019 Spring Meetings. This participates to resolve the problems of unemployment in the two sides and limit the dependence on the EU for investments and trades, especially by reducing the transport cost.
The studies show that there are many opportunities for further trade. In fact, the iron, steel, apparel and clothing, as well as vehicles and electric equipment could be exported from Morocco to Algeria and different type of fuels could be traded in reverse.
Greater openness to intra-industry trade in goods and services between the two countries would create a large market that would make the region more attractive to investors. It would help build regional value-chains and insert them in global value-chains, and it would make the two countries more resilient to economic shocks.
Necessary, the two countries have more attractive than repulsive forces, the actual situation give ambitions to resolve the problems between the two countries, especially the Algerian movement to democracy and transparency and the economic needs of the two countries. Finally we can hope that attractive forces dominate the repulsive forces and ended the ongoing icy diplomatic relations between the two governments.
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