New Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has bigger fish to fry at home than improve relations with Morocco. King Mohammed VI of Morocco responded to Mr Tebboune’s election last month by calling for a “new page” in relations that have been almost continuously in the deep freeze since Algeria’s 1962 independence. But even if Mr Tebboune had the inclination to pick up the olive branch, his relative lack of power versus the country’s military means he probably wouldn’t be able to: there are no signs the army is about to green light warmer relations with a country it continues to see as a threat to its strategic interests.

The Algerian line remains the same. It expects a formal apology for the 1994 expulsion of thousands of its nationals from Morocco, which came after a terrorist attack in Marrakesh that Rabat blamed on Algiers. Since then, the near-1,600km border between the two countries has been closed, reinforced with trenches, fences and barbed wire. (CONTINUED - 1228 WORDS)