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Algeria slams Moroccan ministerial statements as 'shameful'

Algeria issued harsh criticism on Saturday of remarks made by the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, describing them as "shameful".

According to Anadolu news agency, Algeria's official news agency APS quoted the Algerian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ben Ali Sharif, as saying, "The irresponsible statements made by senior Moroccan government officials against Algeria are a well-known technique which Morocco resorts to every time the efforts to finish the decolonisation of Western Sahara make progress."

Mezouar told parliament last Thursday that "Algeria is incredible in what it says, especially in the field of human rights." He accused his North African neighbour of making desperate moves, especially by intercalating the African Union in the conflict about the Western Sahara by appointing a representative for the region to the AU. Morocco has warned repeatedly about the impact of such a move on the course of the conflict.

"Reality refutes these statements," argued Sharif, "because they are derived from activities and political positions issued by non- Algerian entities." This was a reference to the African Union. "These shameful statements reflect extreme sensitivity not worthy of the relations that bind our countries together."

Sharif pointed out that the Kingdom of Morocco's failures and disappointments, which are the direct cause of these accusations, stem from its unilateral and baseless demands to address the Western Sahara issue at the continental and international levels. "Such behaviour by some Moroccan officials will not succeed in altering the course of the regional and international community to determine who is responsible for obstructing a settlement for the Western Sahara conflict and the negative consequences," he insisted.

Several crises in relations between Morocco and Algeria have erupted over the Sahara region, which Morocco considers an integral part of its territory. It accuses Algeria of supporting the Popular Front for the Liberation of Sakia El Hamra and Rio de Oro, the Polisario Front, which is fighting against the government in Rabat for control of the Western Sahara.

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