Algeria says it was ‘focused’ by Gantz’s go to to Morocco

A prime Algerian official stated on Thursday that Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s go to to neighboring Morocco, with which Algiers has reduce diplomatic ties, “targeted” his nation.

Gantz’s journey to Morocco this week comes amid tensions between Rabat and Algiers, that are embroiled in a standoff over the disputed Western Sahara.

“The enemies are mobilizing more and more to undermine Algeria,” which was “targeted” by the go to, stated Senate President Salah Goudjil.

Goudjil is probably the most senior official in Algeria, after the president. He made the remarks a day after Gantz and Morocco’s minister accountable for protection administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, signed a landmark safety settlement in Rabat.

The deal would make it simpler for Rabat to amass hi-tech exports from Israel and is the most recent transfer between the 2 international locations that normalized ties final yr.

Israel has a number of safety accords with allied nations, however the Morocco deal marks the first-of-its-kind settlement with a majority-Arab nation, an Israeli official has stated, on situation of anonymity.

According to Gantz’s workplace, the protection pact and the renewed ties are additionally anticipated to permit main arms offers value a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} within the coming years, although protection officers stress that this isn’t Israel’s main focus.

A senior Israeli protection official denied studies in Israeli media that the 2 international locations had already signed such arms gross sales. While Morocco has expressed curiosity in quite a few Israeli programs — notably the Barak 8 missile protection system, drones from the Israeli Aerospace Industry, Elbit radar programs and extra — these offers are solely of their early levels and haven’t acquired the requisite authorizations.

“There will be projects and sales to come, but the defense minister did not approve and did not sign any deal during his stay. All of the big sales that have been discussed need to go through an approval and signing process. But I am optimistic that there will be. The Moroccans have many challenges in defending their borders, against missiles and in the area of drones, and we want to help them fight terror,” the official stated Thursday.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (proper) shakes fingers along with his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi, after signing a memorandum of understanding between the 2 international locations on the Moroccan Defense Ministry in Rabat, on November 24, 2021. (Defense Ministry)

Morocco controls most of Western Sahara and considers the previous Spanish colony a part of its sovereign territory. Algeria backs Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence motion.

Algeria reduce diplomatic ties with Morocco in August, citing “hostile actions” — a cost denied by Rabat — and Morocco’s current rapprochement with Israel.

In saying the transfer, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra additionally denounced “massive and systematic acts of espionage” by Morocco, a reference to allegations that the dominion’s safety companies used the Pegasus adware developed by the Israeli NSO Group in opposition to its officers and citizenry, the official APS information company reported on the time. Morocco adamantly denies such claims.

Earlier this month, Algiers accused Rabat of killing three Algerian civilians on a desert freeway by means of the Polisario-held space of Western Sahara in a strike on their vans, elevating fears of an escalation.

Polisario head Brahim Ghali stated final week that the motion had determined to step up army operations.

Times of Israel workers contributed to this report.

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