Algeria’s authorities have decided to close the country’s airspace to all civil and military Moroccan aircraft roughly a month after severing diplomatic ties as tensions between the nations continue to grow, the presidential office announced.
The decision was made during a meeting of the national security council on Wednesday. The agenda included relations with Morocco.
“In light of ongoing provocations and aggressive actions by Morocco, Algeria has decided to immediately close the airspace to all Moroccan aircraft — civil and military — as well as those registered in Morocco,” the office said in a statement.
In late August, Algiers announced severing diplomatic ties with Morocco due to the neighbor’s “hostile actions” since the day of independence. Rabat responded by slamming the move as “unjustified and regrettable.”
The two North African nations have long been at odds over control of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was transferred under control of Morocco and Mauritania in 1973. Three years later, the Polisario Front, of which Algeria is considered to be the main supporter, established the partially-recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) on a very small part of the disputed territory. Morocco, which controls much of Western Sahara, has been pushing for the region’s autonomy, while the United Nations and SADR have been in favor of a referendum on its self-determination.