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President: Morocco-France lobby damaging Algeria's relations with Paris

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on 26 January 2020. [Erçin Top - Anadolu Agency]
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in Algiers, Algeria on 26 January 2020 [Erçin Top/Anadolu Agency]

The Moroccan-Algerian relations are going to worse as the new Algerian president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, accused a Moroccan-French lobby of obstructing the development of relations between Algeria and Paris and curbing all initiatives in favour of Rabat.

In a milestone interview with a French newspaper, Le Figaro, published on Thursday, Tebboune revealed his vision regarding ways to handle Algeria's internal situation. This is in light of the ongoing popular protests. He advocated for eliminating corruption that prevailed during the past ten years and the transition to a well-established democracy.

Tebboune also talked about his vision of foreign relations, including Algeria's ties with France, about the sensitivity of the colonial era. On this point, he praised President Emmanuel Macron in his endeavour to eliminate colonial perceptions and understand Algeria's demands when it comes to a painful era that left millions of Algerian victims behind.

Surprisingly, he accused the French-Moroccan lobby of obstructing the Algerian-French rapprochement, alluding to serving the interests of Rabat in France. Second-tier officials accused Morocco of lobbying in France to block the development of the French-Algerian relations, and this is the first time that the Algerian President accuses Morocco directly.

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Tebboune said that Algeria is in favour of solid relations with France based on mutual respect. However, "there is undeniable evidence about the presence of a lobby that works to impede the rapprochement between the two countries and serve Morocco's interests, as this lobby counters all the initiatives undertaken by Algeria in this direction.

The accusations made by Tebboune against Morocco may lead to more tension in the relations between the two countries, and hinder any possible reconciliation in the short and even medium-term. Rabat has been dealing with Tebboune, since he became president, with great caution, as it was not very enthusiastic about his victory in the elections. King Mohammed VI was the last to congratulate the newly elected president and least to criticise him.

Tabboune emphasised the importance of ending the colonisation of Western Sahara during the last African summit. As such, Rabat might choose to ignore these statements, especially as it focused mainly on a Moroccan lobby, meaning French people who sympathise with Morocco.

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