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Suspicion and resentment have marked relations between Morocco and Algeria for decades, and the wrangling does not seem to end despite the serious common challenges that the two countries have to face together.

Within a year of its independence in 1962, Algeria fought a brief war with Morocco over border lands.

The Sands War erupted in October 1963 after skirmishes along the border eventually escalated into a full-blown confrontation. The war was largely due to the absence of a clear delineation of the border between the two neighbours and the discovery of important mineral resources in the disputed area.

Although the armed conflict ended formally in February 1964 following several mediations and did not achieve much for either protagonist, it reinforced the concepts of suspicion and resentment in the relations between the two countries.

The suspicion was mainly pertaining to the fact that each country believed the other wanted to outmanoeuvre the other and achieve a leadership status in the region where neither Tunisia nor Mauritania, their neighbours, had such ambitions.

The tension between the two countries has manifested themselves clearly over the Sahara issue.

While Morocco insisted the region was an integral part of its territory and was not up for negotiations or talks, Algeria supported and sided with the Polisario movement that aimed to press militarily for a separate entity.

The tensions affected their relations and had a dramatic spillover in international institutions and at meetings.

It was exacerbated in 1994 when Morocco, concerned about acts of terrorism and sabotage, imposed visa regulations on Algerians, prompting Algeria to shut down the land border, which at 1,600 kilometres is one of the longest in the world.

More than two decades later, the temporary measure of 1994 has turned into a status quo with no change in sight in 2016 and a clear indication of the deep political deadlock and a symbol of the suspicion and resentment between the two neighbours.

Tag(s) : #Diplomatie & Foreigne affairs

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