Algeria closes airspace for Morocco for diplomatic disagreement

Algeria closes airspace for all military aircraft and civilian aircraft from Morocco. The Algerian authorities announce that measure because of the neighbouring country‘s โ€œpersistent provocations and enemy practicesโ€. Last month Algeria broke diplomatic ties with Morocco.

The Moroccan government in Rabat has not yet formally responded. A source at Royal Air Maroc, Morocco’s national airline, has said that the closure of the airspace has no major impact. About fifteen flights a week should now be diverted across the Mediterranean.

Points of Interest

The relationship between the North African countries has been bad for decades. That has to do with Western Sahara, among other things. The area was annexed by Morocco in the 1970s and Rabat considers it Moroccan. The Polisario Front independence movement is also active in Western Sahara, which is fighting for independence. The movement receives support from Algiers and their leader, Brahim Ghali, resides in Algeria.

Conversely, Algeria accuses Morocco of supporting the separatist movement MAK, which wants autonomy in the Kabylia region (in northern Algeria). Algeria has identified the movement as a terrorist organization. In July Algeria brought back its ambassador to Morocco for the support of the Moroccan UN Ambassador to the MAK.

The borders between the countries have been closed since 1994, but diplomatic ties have been established since the late 1980s.