Algiers, Rabat-Algeria announced on Sunday an agreement reached with Morocco to promote security cooperation in facing terrorism and exchanging information on extremists and activists in fundamentalist groups, in particular ISIS.
Moroccan Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Nasser Bourita and Head of Foreign Intelligence Yassin Mansouri conducted a visit to Algeria over the weekend to discuss the means to promote security and fight terrorism, as well as the situation in Libya and the threats posed by terrorist organizations.
An official statement issued by the Algerian government said that Algerian Prime Minister Abdul-Malik Sellal received Bourita on Friday. The statement added that talks touched on bilateral relations and challenges facing Africa and the Arab world.
An Algerian government source told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the meeting with the Moroccan delegation was mainly focused on security matters, in particular the threats presented by ISIS on the African countries.
They also discussed links between terrorist groups and drugs and arms smugglers. Both sides stressed the importance of exchanging information on Algerian and Moroccan extremists living in Syria and Libya, the sources added.
Unofficial sources said that talks between Sellal and Bourita also touched on Morocco’s willingness to rejoin the African Union.
Meanwhile, Major General Othman Tartag, the head of Algeria’s intelligence agency, met with Mansouri. No statements were issued regarding the content of discussions.
Earlier this year, the Algerian government informed Rabat that a large number of Moroccans were moving to Libya through the Algerian territories. It added that scores of those were returned home by air flights.
The visit of the high-ranking Moroccan delegation to Algeria was the first in several years, and showed intentions of rapprochement between the two African countries.
Well-informed Moroccan sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the visit came in preparation for the expected return of Morocco to the African Union.
Morocco has formally announced its wish to rejoin the AU, 32 years after leaving the organization.
In a message to the AU summit in Rwanda, Moroccan King Mohammed VI said the time had come for his country to retake its place within its institutional family.
Morocco left the AU in 1984 after the organization recognized the independence of Western Sahara.
Moroccans describe Western Sahara as their country’s “southern provinces.”