Algeria’s allegations regarding a supposed ‘confiscation’ of Algerian properties by Moroccan authorities are unfounded

Algeria has overreacted to the decision of Moroccan authorities to start expropriation proceedings for three Algerian real estate properties in Rabat, for the expansion needs of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denouncing a “confiscation” “contrary to international law”.

In response to these unfounded allegations by Algeria, Moroccan diplomatic sources provided extensive clarifications on Monday, March 18th.

The diplomatic sources explained that contrary to these allegations, the Chancellery and the Residence of the former Algerian Embassy in Rabat – whose land was actually offered by the Moroccan authorities – have not been subject to any “confiscation” and assured that these premises remain respected and protected by the Moroccan state, even in the absence of diplomatic privileges and immunities following Algeria’s unilateral severance of diplomatic relations with the Kingdom.

The Moroccan diplomatic sources reiterated that only one building had been the subject of discussions with Algerian authorities. It concerns unused premises, immediately adjacent to the headquarters of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rabat, requiring an expansion operation.

Actually, a draft decree published earlier this month in the official gazette explains that the expropriation of the properties is necessary for “public utility purposes,” namely the expansion of administrative buildings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…

Moreover, the expansion operation of the headquarters of this department has involved, in recent years, several diplomatic buildings, notably those of Côte d’Ivoire and Switzerland, the diplomatic sources recalled, pointing out that Algerian authorities have been closely involved and duly informed in advance and at all stages, with full transparency, of this procedure for over two years.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry has, since January 2022, officially and repeatedly informed Algerian authorities of the Moroccan state’s wish to acquire the said premises amicably. The Consul General of Algeria in Casablanca was received four times at the Ministry regarding this matter. Additionally, eight official correspondences were transmitted to Algerian authorities, but only five official responses were received by Moroccan authorities.

In two of their letters, Algerian authorities responded to the Moroccan offer by stating that a “state property evaluation of these assets is underway” and that “they will communicate their conclusions upon finalization.” “The release of premises and the relocation of its contents will be done in accordance with diplomatic practices once the sale operation is duly finalized,” the letters specified.

Furthermore, Algerian authorities have informed the Moroccan authorities in a written message that they “have decided to initiate an expropriation procedure for public interest reasons for certain properties in the area near the People’s Palace, and consequently to reclaim possession of the residence of the ambassador of the Moroccan mission” in Algiers.

Moroccan diplomatic sources further emphasize that contrary to the inaccuracies contained in the statement from the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Morocco fully assumes its responsibilities and obligations arising from the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, notwithstanding Algeria’s unilateral severance of diplomatic relations with Morocco on August 24, 2021.

As a result, properties of the Algerian state that no longer host diplomatic or consular premises and do not enjoy the privileges and immunities provided by international law, remain respected and protected by Moroccan law, under the general conditions applicable to property rights in Morocco, specify the same sources.

They assure that Morocco has never been in a logic of escalation or provocation, as it has always worked to preserve a relationship of neighborliness between the two countries and fraternity between the two peoples. It is in this context that the procedure concerning the mentioned premises is at a standstill, the sources said.

About Geraldine Boechat 2680 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia