The King of Morocco once again reaches out to Algeria for reconciliation | International
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In his annual message on the occasion of the celebration of the Feast of the Throne, the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, once again extended his hand this Saturday to the “brother people of Algeria” to put an end to the conflict between the two countries, and which worsened last year with the decision of Algiers to break diplomatic relations. The Alaouite monarch has dedicated most of his speech to glossing over the measures adopted by the country’s authorities to deal with the economic crisis derived from the covid-19 pandemic and “to the international situation”, in a veiled allusion to the Ukraine war.
The King of Morocco has called on the Algerian Government to work together for reconciliation, and has regretted that the borders are now an insurmountable wall instead of “a bridge for exchange and communication”, as they have been historically. In fact, he has expressed his wish that renewed brotherly relations between the two countries could be “an example for the entire region”. Furthermore, he has censored those who spread “rumors and insults” to the other side. This is not the first time that Mohamed VI has reached out to his neighbor, an attitude that Algiers sees as false, considering that it does not correspond to a series of hostile actions towards his interests by Moroccan institutions.
More than for its content, Mohamed VI’s message, which was celebrating the 23rd anniversary of his enthronement, has stood out for the issues it has not addressed. There has been no mention of Western Sahara, the conflict that is poisoning relations with Algeria. Rabat has obtained during the last years the support of the United States, Germany and Spain.
In a speech of about 20 minutes, there was also no direct reference to Spain, after both governments put an end last March to the crisis opened by Morocco as a result of the visit to Spain last year of the Polisario leader, Brahim Gali, for medical reasons. This is the king’s first annual speech on the occasion of a major national holiday after the turn that the Government of Pedro Sánchez gave to the traditional Spanish policy towards Western Sahara based on neutrality. Now Spain supports the proposal for Moroccan autonomy as the “most serious, credible and realistic” basis for the resolution of a dispute that will soon be five decades old.
Regarding internal issues, the king highlighted the efforts made by the authorities to ensure the provision of essential products to all areas of the country in the face of “difficult economic conditions”, whose causes he stated are “international in scope”. . Among the projects to develop the country, Mohamed VI highlighted the reform of the health system to provide public coverage for six million workers and their families. Sponsored by the palace before the elections last September, this is the flagship project of the Aziz Akhannouch government.
As usual on the occasion of the Feast of the Throne, the Moroccan monarch granted clemency to hundreds of prisoners or people on parole. This year there were 1,769 people, of which 1,459 were incarcerated. Among them, there were no well-known prisoners, such as Náser Zefzafi, one of the leaders of the Rif uprising four years ago, nor the imprisoned journalists Omar Radi and Suleiman Raisuni. Their cases are among those mentioned in a report published this week by Human Rights Watch that denounces practices to silence dissent.
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