The Algerian reaction to Rabat's planned expropriation of Algerian state property has been violent, and Morocco has responded point by point to Algeria's accusations

Rabat reacts to Algerian accusations

Nasser Bourita, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Marruecos - PHOTO/FILE
Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco - PHOTO/FILE

While Algiers reacted to the publication of an expropriation plan in the Kingdom's Official Gazette on 13 March with a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Moroccan government has so far refrained from raising the issue.  

  1. Morocco's response

Morocco's response

In response to the Algerian communiqué, an anonymous diplomatic source gave a statement to AFP. The use of this medium lends credibility to the statement. It is a way of refusing to engage in any polemic with Algiers on an issue that has been the subject of long exchanges between the two sides.

From the outset, the Moroccan diplomatic source stresses that the Foreign Ministry and the residence of the former Algerian Embassy in Rabat are in no way affected by the expropriation procedure. The land on which the embassy is built was donated by the Moroccan authorities. 

Moreover, "only one building has been discussed with the Algerian authorities. It is an unused room immediately adjacent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs", the same source said, adding that 'this enlargement operation has affected several diplomatic buildings in recent years, in particular those of Côte d'Ivoire and Switzerland'.  

However, the most interesting aspect of this Moroccan diplomatic clarification is that it reveals that "the Algerian authorities have been closely involved and duly informed for more than two years, at all stages and with total transparency". Algiers therefore did not have to invoke an alleged Moroccan provocation. Nothing surprising about that.

Puesto fronterizo entre Argelia y Marruecos - PHOTO/FILE
Border crossing point between Algeria and Morocco - PHOTO/FILE

The Moroccan diplomatic source provides proof that Morocco did not handle this matter by stealth. "As early as January 2022, the Ministry officially informed the Algerian authorities on several occasions of the Moroccan government's desire to acquire the premises out of court. The Algerian Consul General in Casablanca was received at the Ministry no less than four times on this matter. In addition, eight official letters were sent to the Algerian authorities, who replied with no less than five official letters'.  

Ahmed Attaf, asuntos exteriores argelia
Ahmed Attaf. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria

The Algerian Foreign Ministry's press release did not mention this exchange of correspondence and information between the two countries on this issue. The press release gave the impression that the announcement of the procedure initiated by the Moroccans was surprising and unexpected on the part of Algiers.  

The communiqué from the Moroccan diplomatic source goes further in its revelations. It tells us that, in two of their written documents, the Algerian authorities responded to the Moroccan offer by indicating that 'an evaluation of the property is underway and that they will communicate their conclusions as soon as they are finalised', before adding that 'the premises will be vacated and their contents removed in accordance with diplomatic practice once the sale operation has been duly concluded'.

The climax of this affair, which is not really a matter of fact, is that the Algerian authorities, for their part, have informed the Moroccan side in writing 'that they have decided to initiate an expropriation procedure, for reasons of public utility, of certain properties in the area near the People's Palace (in Algiers) and, consequently, to repossess the residence of the ambassador of the Moroccan mission'. Algiers seems to have acted swiftly in this matter of 'expropriation for reasons of public utility'. 

In light of these details, one wonders about the Algerian regime's intentions in issuing a press release with a bellicose tone, pretending to ignore the negotiations and discussions that took place between the two parties. Above all, we await Algiers' reaction to these revelations, which call into question the authors of the Foreign Ministry's communiqué.