Algiers, 25 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Algeria is officially breaking off ties with Morocco, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra on Tuesday, following an extended conflict mainly revolving around the Western Sahara.
Morocco’s Foreign Ministry in a statement on Twitter said it regretted the “completely unjustified but expected decision – in view of the escalation observed in recent weeks.”
“[Morocco] categorically rejects the fallacious, even absurd, pretexts underlying [the decision],” the statement continued, adding that the kingdom would continue to be a “loyal partner for the Algerian people.”
Morocco claims large parts of Western Sahara, while Algeria backs the Polisario movement, which is fighting for the territory’s independence.
Morocco controls large parts of the territory, but this is not recognized internationally.
Former US president Donald Trump had promised to approve Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, and Morocco normalized relations with Israel in return. But the move prompted fears in Algeria that Israel might provide military support for Rabat, which could have a destabilizing effect.
The spat has also caused tensions with European countries that reject Morocco’s claims. After a Spanish hospital treated the leader of the Polisario movement earlier this year, Morocco relaxed its border controls with the Spanish exclave of Ceuta, leading thousands of migrants to cross the border.
Morocco also recalled its ambassador from Berlin in May, likewise due to the conflict.