Algeria recalls envoy to Morocco in row over Western Sahara

A man walks in front of closed shops in the Kabylie heartland of the Amazigh community, about 100 km east of the capital Algiers, on Dec 8, 2019. (RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

CAIRO – The Algerian foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Morocco on Sunday and hinted at possible further measures in the latest flare-up of tension between the North African neighbours over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

The Moroccan envoy to the UN had called at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement for "the right of self-determination for the people living in the Kabylie region" in reference to Algeria's Tamazight-speaking minority

The move was linked to comments from the Moroccan envoy to the United Nations on Algeria's Kabylie region, the ministry said after the envoy drew the region into the decades-old row over Western Sahara, which is claimed by Morocco as well as the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.

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The Moroccan envoy had called at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement for "the right of self-determination for the people living in the Kabylie region" in reference to Algeria's Tamazight-speaking minority. He had suggested Algeria should not deny that while backing self-determination for Western Sahara.

The Polisario Front is fighting for the independence for Western Sahara, a Spanish colony until mid-1970s now largely occupied and administered by Morocco.

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Land borders between Algeria and Morocco have been shut since the early 1990s over security, aggravating friction between Algiers and Rabat whose relations have been worsening due to the conflict.