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Morocco: former PM tells Algeria, 'Our kings contributed to your independence' 

Morocco’s former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Morocco on 16 March 2017 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]
Morocco’s former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Morocco on 16 March 2017 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]

Morocco's former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane has reminded the people of Algeria that Moroccan kings supported them with weapons as they fought for independence from France.

The Secretary-General of the Justice and Development Party made his comment during his opening speech at the party's regional conference in the city of Oujda.

Benkirane also criticised what he called "the Algerian escalation against Morocco in the issue of the Western Sahara" and called on the Algerian regime to "stop making Morocco out to be an enemy."

The former prime minister referred to the ties that unite the Moroccan and Algerian people despite the "squabbles" that emerge from time to time. Such support stretches back to the mid-nineteenth century, when Morocco fought against France in 1844 to stand with Algeria. He insisted that this is not the suitable time to think of taking over part of Morocco — the Western Sahara — and creating a state for one or two hundred thousand people to provide a corridor to the Atlantic Ocean. Instead he called for Algerians to think about how to strengthen the unity of the Maghreb.

In the face of international blocs, he explained, including the capitalist West led by the USA, the leftist-socialist East, including Russia, China and several other countries, the Arab Islamic nation should understand that the only solution for it is to unite in the face of all challenges.

READ: What does a diplomatic row mean for Spain's Algerian energy supplies?

"If one of the previous rulers, whether the late King Hassan II or Houari Boumédiene, had ever wronged anyone, this nation has in any case moved on," said Benkirane. "We are the sons of the current generation, and King Mohammed VI extends his hand to you [people of Algeria]."

In a wide-ranging speech, the former Moroccan official mentioned his exemption from the task of forming his party's second government. He also said that he had objected to the readiness of the Justice and Development Party's Youth Organisation to organise a protest in Rabat, and that he had told the youth wing, "If you were told it is enough, that means that it is enough; the talking is over."

Regarding his cancellation of fuel subsidies when prime minister, Benkirane pointed out that it was a move of which he was not proud. "It was political suicide, because that was the destiny of every government that dared to cancel subsidies." He added that, "Frankly, Allah helped me, because at the time I started to cancel the subsidies, the global oil price started to fall; it was $117, then it fell to $40 a barrel." He called on the current government to reintroduce the subsidies.

In conclusion, he noted that when he led the government in Rabat, he made all difficult decisions of his own free will; nobody dictated to him to do so.

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