World Algeria urges Morocco to quit W. Sahara buffer zone
France Reducing Number of Visas for Algeria, Morocco by Half Amid Disputes Between Nations
Morocco's trying to seek "the necessary balance between facilitating the movement of peopleand combating clandestine immigration," its foreign minister said.In a few weeks, the French government plans to start cutting the number of visas issued to Algerians and Moroccans by half, and to Tunisians by 30 percent, according to government officials.
Algeria, the main backer of Western Sahara's Polisario Front independence movement, called on Morocco Thursday to withdraw from a key buffer zone, after the United Nations named a new envoy.
The UN on Wednesday named veteran diplomat Staffan de Mistura as its point man on the decades-old conflict, a job that had remained vacant for nearly two and a half years as the Polisario and Morocco rejected a dozen other candidates.
Algeria-Morocco standoff threatens Spain gas supplies
Algeria pumps huge volumes of gas through Morocco into Europe, but with Algiers and Rabat at loggerheads as a pipeline agreement nears expiry, experts say the taps could soon be turned off. That would hit Spain's gas supplies just as prices soar across Europe and with winter approaching, and Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares was due in Algeria on Thursday to discuss the issue, his office told AFP. Algeria, Africa's biggest natural gasThat would hit Spain's gas supplies just as prices soar across Europe and with winter approaching, and Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares was due in Algeria on Thursday to discuss the issue, his office told AFP.
The Algerian foreign ministry noted "with interest" Mistura's appointment, and called for the removal of Moroccan troops deployed late last year in the Guerguerat area in the far south of the territory.
They had been sent to reopen a key highway leading into Mauritania after it was blocked by Sahrawi activists who see it as violating a 1991 ceasefire deal.
The "demilitarisation of this zone... is the cornerstone of any credible political process aiming to find a peaceful solution to the conflict," the Algerian ministry said.
It said Algeria supported UN peace efforts and voiced hope that De Mistura could "relaunch direct, serious negotiations between the Polisario Front and the Kingdom of Morocco in order to reach a solution guaranteeing the Sahrawi people can freely and authentically exercise their inalienable right to self-determination."
Morocco: still no Ziyech, the 27 of Vahid for Guinea-Bissau and Guinea
The coach of Morocco convened 26 players for meetings against Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, next month in playoffs World 2022. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) remains spread. Vahid Halilhodzic persists and sign . The coach of Morocco remains firm on his choices and did not pass the sponge for Hakim Ziyech . The Offensive School of Chelsea remains the large absent from the Lions Lions of the Atlas withdrawn for the double confrontation against Guinea-Bissau, as well as the late match against Guinea.
The UN sees the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, as a "non-autonomous territory", but Morocco regards it as an integral part of its territory and insists its claim to sovereignty be recognised under any peace deal.
The kingdom controls some 80 percent of the largely desert territory, which has mineral reserves and access to rich Atlantic fisheries, as well as providing a potentially strategic trade route linking Morocco with West African markets.
Rabat has proposed a plan for autonomy but the Polisario insists on an independence referendum as called for under the 1990 ceasefire deal.
Morocco's tense relations with Algeria have deteriorated since Rabat last year won Washington's recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara in exchange for normalising ties with Israel.
Algeria on August 24 cut diplomatic relations with Morocco, accusing it of "hostile actions" including using Israeli technology to spy on its officials, charges Morocco dismisses.
A month later it banned Moroccan aircraft from its skies.
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Algiers is escalating an already-volatile situation as fast as it can. Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter: @GordonGChang.The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.