Morocco invites Algeria for direct talks
Rabat, Nov 8 (IANS/MAP) Overcoming decades of political differences, Morocco's King Mohammed VI has invited regional rival Algeria for a direct dialogue in what can be seen as a thaw in ties between the two countries.
"Let me point out, and God is my witness, that soon after I acceded to the throne, I asked earnestly and in good faith that the borders between our two countries be opened and that Moroccan-Algerian relations be normalized," King Mohammed VI said in a televised address quoted by Moroccan news agency MAP.
"I should like to say today... that Morocco stands ready for a direct and frank dialogue with our sister nation Algeria in order to settle the transient and objective differences impeding the development of relations between the two countries."
"To this end, I suggest to our Algerian brothers that we set up a joint political mechanism for dialogue and consultation. This mechanism's format, nature and level of representation can be mutually agreed upon."
The 1,600-km-long Morocco-Algeria border has been closed since 1994 after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian visitors in the wake of a deadly attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech.
King Mohammed VI said that Morocco was willing to consider the proposals or initiatives Algeria may want to offer in this regard so as to break the stalemate in the relations between "the two neighbours and sister nations".
"The mission of this mechanism would be to analyze all the issues on hand in good faith and in a very frank, objective and honest way, using an open-ended agenda, without conditions or exceptions," he said.