Morocco’s King, Algerian Speaker Discuss Mending Ties

Published May 9th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Morocco's King Mohammed VI met Algeria's parliament speaker Bashir Boumaaza on Monday, a fresh sign of warming ties between the two regional rivals.  

The official MAP news agency said the king met Boumaaza in the northern Moroccan city of Tangiers.  

Boumaaza arrived in Tangiers Saturday for a 3-day official visit to Morocco, the first of the kind, said MAP. 

The Algerian speaker is scheduled to meet the speakers of the two houses, prime minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi and other cabinet members. 

El Youssoufi has repeatedly called for re-opening the land border shut by Algiers in 1994.  

Diplomats say Algeria was seeking tougher controls along the 1,200-km (750-mile), which it says was being used by radical Moslem rebels and drug smugglers.  

Morocco's Interior Minister Ahmed Midaoui visited Algiers twice this year in an apparent bid to ease concerns by Algerian authorities trying to quell an eight-year-old Islamist rebellion there.  

The two North African countries have been estranged for years by regional rivalry, mutual mistrust and the Western Sahara dispute.  

Algeria backs the Polisario Front, which is seeking independence in the Moroccan-held Western Sahara.  

After a brief thaw following a visit by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for the July funeral of late King Hassan, relations were strained anew over Moslem rebel attacks in Algeria.  

In September, Algeria accused Morocco of harboring Muslim guerrillas blamed for a massacre near the border – (Agencies)  

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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