Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Tuesday that his country had severed diplomatic relations with Morocco due to “hostile actions”.
Algeria said last week that it would review its relationship with Morocco after accusing it of complicity in deadly forest fires that ravaged the country’s north.
“Algeria has decided to cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco from today,” the minister announced during a press conference.
“History has shown that the Kingdom of Morocco has never stopped carrying out hostile actions against Algeria,” Mr Lamamra said, without elaborating further.
Morocco is yet to comment on the move.
Forest fires in Algeria, which broke out on August 9 amid a blistering heatwave, burnt tens of thousands of hectares of forest and killed at least 90 people, including more than 30 soldiers.
Dozens of forest fires have hit mountainous areas in northern Algeria, mainly in Tizi Ouzou, the main province of the Kabylie region east of Algiers.
Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said last week that 22 had been arrested on suspicion of starting the fires although he admitted the temperatures were a factor.
“Some fires have been caused by high temperatures but criminal hands were behind most of them,” he said in a televised speech.
Algerian authorities have pointed the finger for the fires at an independence movement in the mainly Berber region of Kabylie, which extends along the Mediterranean coast east of the capital Algiers.
Authorities also accused the Movement for Self-determination of Kabylie (MAK) of involvement in the lynching of a man falsely accused of arson, an incident that sparked outrage.
Jamal Ben Ismail, an artist in the hard-hit Tizi Ouzou district, who local rights groups said was volunteering to help extinguish the blazes, was lynched by a crowd that appeared to accuse him of starting fires. Prosecutors are investigating the man’s killing.
Last week, Algeria directly accused Morocco of supporting the MAK, which it classifies as a “terrorist organisation”.
“The incessant hostile acts carried out by Morocco against Algeria have necessitated the review of relations between the two countries,” a presidency statement said.
It also said there would be an “intensification of security controls on the western borders” with Morocco.
The border between Algeria and Morocco has been closed since 1994.
Algeria’s foreign minister on Tuesday also accused Morocco’s leaders of “responsibility for repeated crises” and behaviour that has “led to conflict instead of integration” in North Africa.
Relations between Algiers and Rabat have been fraught in past decades — especially over unrest in southern Morocco.
Rabat considers the former Spanish colony in the Sahara region an integral part of its kingdom — a view supported by the majority Arab states — but Algeria backs an armed independence movement that has waged an insurgency against the government for decades.
Last month, Algeria recalled its ambassador in Morocco for consultations after Morocco’s envoy to the UN, Omar Hilale, expressed support for self-determination for the Kabylie region