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Morocco Slams Algerian FMs Childish Drug Trafficking Accusations Against Moroccan Banks

Rabat – After chief Algerian diplomat Abdelkader Messahel accused Moroccan banks and airlines of transporting and selling hashish, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned the ‘irresponsible’ statements.The ministry has summoned the chargé d’affaires at the Algerian embassy in Rabat to protest the accusations, a statementby the ministry said Friday.During his intervention in a conference about investment in Algeria by the Forum des chefs d’entreprises (FCE), Messahel made unsubstantiated allegations that Moroccan banks are laundering money made from the hashish trade, and that the Moroccan airways company Royal Air Maroc (RAM) transports “something else” other than passengers in its flights to Africa, making a reference to drugs. Further, Messahel claimed this information was provided to him by “African heads of state.”Messahel was questioning Morocco’s potential to invest in Africa and be hub for foreign investments, saying that only Algeria, and no other country in Africa, is able to meet those ends.Childish and IrresponsibleMoroccan officials told the Algerian chargé d’affaires that Messahel’s allegations were “irresponsible” and even “childish,” especially as were made by a chief diplomat whose duty to represent his country’s position internationally.“These unfounded statements will not harm the credibility nor the success of the cooperation between Morocco and the African countries, which is largely saluted by the African heads of states and appreciated by the populations of the continent,” said the release.The Moroccan department affirmed that these declarations cannot hide the fact that Algeria is facing serious “economic, political, and social problems,” adding that by making those statements, the Algerian official sought to hide the “failures” of his country.The ministry then twisted the knife, saying that investment in Africa is another manifest failure of the Algerian government. Unlike Algeria, the statement said, Morocco, which has less financial resources than its oil-rich neighbor, nonetheless has a “vision”for south-south cooperation.“Commitment for Africa cannot be reduced to a question of financial resources, otherwise Algeria, with all its petro-dollars, would have succeeded,” the ministry wrote.Lies and IgnoranceThe nature of the allegations the Algerian chief diplomat made were lambasted by the Moroccan ministry for their simplistic and “ignorant” nature.How can Algeria insist on “indefinitely” perpetuating these “lies” and “insulting public intelligence,” the ministry asked rhetorically, at a time where ordinary people, let alone institutions and economic actors, can access information?“The statements made by the Algerian minister on banking institutions and the national airways company demonstrate an ignorance that is as deep as it is inexcusable of the elementary functioning of the banking system and civil aviation both at the national and international level,” said the release.The Moroccan ministry saw a link between Messahel’s statements and the current general context in the relations between the two countries, marked by the visit to the region of the United Nations Secretary General’s Personal Envoy to Western Sahara and the preparations for the 5th EU-AU summit due to be held in Abidjan in late November.Rabat and Algiers are currently fighting an intense diplomatic battle over the possible participation of the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.The ministry noted that it decided to recall its ambassador to Algiers for consultation following the statements, which “reached an unprecedented level of irresponsibility in the history of bilateral relations.”

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