Algeria condemns Morocco's attempt to confiscate embassy assets

Government vows to take legal action and seek UN intervention as diplomatic tensions increase

Morocco is to close its embassy in Algeria today, an official source said, after Algeria severed ties with the kingdom over what it said were 'hostile actions'. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Algeria condemned a plan put forward by the Moroccan government to confiscate the Algerian embassy’s properties in Rabat, describing it as “a new phase of escalation” and “a provocative and hostile behaviour” from its North African neighbour.

The Moroccan government issued a decree last Wednesday in the country’s Official Gazette ordering the expropriation of the Algerian embassy’s buildings in Rabat. It is part of a plan to expand the administrative buildings of its Foreign Ministry.

According to the same decree, the expansion project falls under a law that gives the government power to confiscate infrastructure for public sector projects.

“Algeria condemns in the strongest terms the comprehensive robbery operation [the confiscation of its properties in Rabat] and strongly denounces its illegitimacy and incompatibility with the duties and obligations that any member state of the international community should bear,” Algeria's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

Algeria accused Morocco of breaching international laws, especially the Vienna Convention, which necessitates the protection of diplomatic missions regardless of the circumstances.

The confiscation is “inconsistent with civilised international practices”, Algeria said.

“The Algerian government will respond to these provocations by all means it deems appropriate, and will resort to all available legal means,” it added.

The Algerian government vowed to take its plea to the UN for review. Algeria unilaterally cut diplomatic ties with Morocco in August 2021 after accusing it of backing “terrorist groups” who allegedly started deadly wildfires in north-eastern Algeria at the time.

The wildfires burnt thousands of hectares of forest and killed about 90 people, including 30 soldiers.

Since then, Algeria’s diplomatic representation in Morocco has decreased to the lowest possible level. The country's ambassador has departed and its embassy only maintained consular services for Algerians in the country.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated further in the past few months, with a central factor in the dispute being the Western Sahara issue – a decades-long row over Algeria's support for a separatist movement in Morocco.

Updated: March 18, 2024, 7:07 AM