Morrocco’s Justice and Development Party (JDP) has announced the appointment of a delegation to meet Algerian political formations in an attempt to convince them of the “usefulness” of King Mohammed VI’s proposal to form a mechanism aiming at overcoming the differences between both countries.
Secretary-General of Ennahda party, Mohamed Doubi, said that the JDP is the ruling party in Morocco, so if this party, which presents the executive power in the kingdom, wants to take steps regarding the Algerian issue it should act on behalf of the government.
Doubi doubted the effectiveness of the diplomatic step undertaken by the JDP, telling Echorouk Online: “I think that the methodology that the JDP employed will not achieve the aspired result. If the JDP wants to reach certain results, it has to take the initiative within a formal framework through the government it is managing. Working at the level of the party cannot be considered as a formal frame, as parties cannot take sovereign decisions.”
He indicated that “until now we have not received the initiative, and once we receive it we will be able to study it and declare our position,” confirming that Ennahda movement encourages “the establishment of good diplomatic relations between Algeria and the Kingdom of Morocco, while paying respect for the higher interests of both countries.”
On the issue of reopening the closed border between the two countries since 1994, Douibi said: “There are historical issues and objective reasons to close the border. It is certain that such a file should be discussed between the governments of both countries. Each party should present its point of view, and we, as political parties, will work for the benefit of our countries”. He added that “what matters most for us is the security of our territories and our borders and the stability of our homelands.”
For his part, the leader in the Justice and Development Front, MP Suleiman Shanin, said that the front is open to all political parties in Maghreb region, including the Moroccan parties, indicating that Moroccan counterparts have been invited to the forum of late Sheikhs Nahnah and Bouslimani, which was organized at the beginning of the week. However, Shanin expressed many objections regarding the efforts made by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani and secretary-general of JDP, conveying his party’s absolute commitment to Algerian diplomacy.
Shanin confirmed to Echorouk Online: “Morocco has to stop creating tensions at a formal and party levels”. He added: “the fact that the JDP has reached out to us with a single demand and a local agenda that matches the speech of King Mohammed VI is something that does not go hand in hand with our movement’s approach. We fully support the demarche of the Algerian diplomacy, and we appreciate its positions which proved to be effective and valid.”
Shanin hopes that the Moroccan party leading the government will overcome its official position regarding the Western Sahara issue and liberated its stance and discourse from unilateralism, by granting the Sahrawis the right to determine their fate by the UN regulations.
Regarding Morocco’s attempt to reopen the land border with Algeria, Shanin said: “The reopening of the border is a secondary issue for both parties. More importantly, Rabat should stop igniting polemics and implicating Algeria in different topics, in addition to pointing to the Algerian state with different accusations during international events.
For his part, Abdul-Razzaq Al-Makri, Head of the Movement of Society for Peace, praised the initiative of King Mohammed VI, calling for opening a direct dialogue between Algeria and Rabat. Makri declared his willingness to meet with Moroccan parties and discuss mutual concerns, stressing that: “This sort of meetings has taken place in the past, and we have protocols of cooperation with several parties in other countries.”
Makri considered that such initiatives would encourage economic cooperation between both countries, open the way for upgrading mutual relations, and nurture the principle of good neighbourliness. However, he maintained his position on the Western Sahara issue and the Saharawi people’s right to decide, which he described as an “essential right”.
As for his aptness to hold meetings with the JDP, Makri reiterated that both nations have old ties, which are documented through a protocol of cooperation between the two parties that attend each other’s meetings, conferences and forums. Such old exchanges will not depend on the king’s initiative to be initiated again as channels of communication have always been open between both sides. Thus, he considered that this type of meetings is not to be held exclusively with a Moroccan party, as the Movement of Society for Peace also meets with parties from Tunisia and other countries.
Makri emphasised that if the initiative to hold meetings between a group of Moroccan parties and Algerian parties is concretised, he will always welcome such efforts, and he will be ready for dialogue on behalf of his party. However, such an enterprise depends on the positions of Algerian parties as well. He stressed: “We support mutual communication, we welcome dialogues, and we are ready to meet all parties.”
Karim Tabou, the National Coordinator of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, which is currently under establishment, considered that the reopening of the borders between Algeria and Morocco is a prerequisite for building bridges between communities and elites. In a statement to France 24, and while commenting Mohammed VI’s call, on November 6, to establish a direct dialogue with Algeria and reopen the border, Tabou asserted: “What is happening between Algeria and Morocco cannot be reduced to a mere technical issue, which is to open the land border.”