Algeria closed its airspace to all Moroccan aircraft on Wednesday, Algerian authorities said. The decision came almost a month after Algiers severed diplomatic ties with Rabat.
In a statement, the Algerian President’s press office announced the “immediate” closure of Algerian airspace “to all Moroccan civilian and military aircraft, as well as aircraft bearing a Moroccan registration number.” It was decided to close the airspace “due to the continuation of provocation and hostile practices on the Moroccan side”. However, no details were given.
Moroccan authorities have not commented on the decision, but a source at Royal Air Maroc said the closure of Algerian airspace would only affect 15 flights a week connecting Morocco to Tunisia, Turkey and Egypt. Algiers’ decision was deemed irrelevant and it was clarified that the relevant flights could be diverted to the Mediterranean Sea.
Breakup of diplomatic relations
On August 24, Algeria announced that it was breaking diplomatic relations with Morocco, explaining that it was “hostile” by its neighbor. Algerian diplomacy Ramdane Lamamra accused Rabat of using Pegasus spy software to surveillance Algerian politicians.
Lamamra also accused the Moroccan authorities of supporting regional separatists and failing to meet “bilateral obligations”, including on the disputed issue of Western Sahara.
Main photo source: Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock