Morocco builds wall to divide country from Algeria

Government admits, 100 km of barrier along eastern border

01 June, 10:33

    (ANSAmed) - RABAT, JUNE 1 - Photos had been circulating for a while but there was no confirmation until now that Morocco was indeed building a wall along its eastern border with Algeria.

    The over 100-km-long barrier has now been justified in Parliament over ''controversies'' between the two countries. It was the head of Government Benkirane who admitted the construction of the barrier along the border.

    The statement ended unconfirmed reports by the small number of tourists over the past year who have travelled to an area beyond the territories usually visited by foreigners in Morocco.

    The case was first raised in June. At the time, Interior Minister Mohammed Hassad had to admit that a wall photographed by tourists was just a form of defense following terror threats coming from that direction.

    Now that construction work has almost been completed, the official confirmation leaves no room for doubt.

    It is not the first time that Morocco accuses Algeria of vileness: inundating the country with smuggled fuel, for example. Algeria, for its part, accuses Morocco of exporting hashish.

    Borders have been de facto shut down since 1994, when Morocco imposed a visa on the passports of Algerians wishing to cross the border. The restrictive measure was adopted after a terror attack in Marrakech, which targeted a hotel, attributed to the Algerian secret services by Rabat.

    But behind the tiffs are issues and problems that are deeply rooted in Africa's history - including the most sensitive, the issue of contested Sahara and funding of the Polisario Front.

    The reopening of borders long called for by Europe appears to be moving further away. And the wall becomes tangible proof of the crisis as the countries are drifting apart. (ANSAmed)
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