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Algeria keen on building 'normal relations' with Morocco, minister

Algeria is keen on building normal relations with Morocco and forming the Arab Maghreb Union while respecting the right of Saharan people to self-determination, Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said yesterday.

In a statement to the privately-owned Nahar TV channel, Lamamra said that Algeria advocates the building of a "Great Arab Maghreb" which would serve the interests of the people of the region.

However, the Moroccan King Mohammed VI has accused Algeria, in a TV speech yesterday, the 15th anniversary of his coronation, of seeking to derail the formation of the Arab Maghreb Union, pointing out that Algeria "systematically rejects" all Moroccan initiatives that aim at reopening closed borders and normalising relations between the two countries.

He said that Algerian rejection "is contrary to the people's desire to maintain open human and economic relations."

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