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Morocco recalls envoy over Algeria FM's drug accusation

Morocco's foreign ministry calls Abdelkader Messahel's remarks 'verious serious' and 'false'.

Abdelkader Messahel

Morocco has recalled its ambassador to neighbouring Algeria after the Algerian foreign minister accused Moroccan banks of laundering drug money in Africa, according to state media.

MAP news agency said on Saturday that Morocco's foreign ministry had also summoned the Algerian charge d'affaires in Rabat over the "very serious" and "false" remarks by Abdelkader Messahel, Algeria's top diplomat.

In a debate with business leaders in Algeria's capital, Algiers, on Friday, Messahel alleged that Morocco is "laundering cannabis money via its banks in the continent".

He also claimed that Royal Air Maroc, Morocco's state-owned carrier, is "carrying something other than passengers" to African destinations.

In response, the Moroccan foreign ministry said Messahel's comments displayed "an unprecedented level of irresponsibility in the history of bilateral relations".

They reflected "a deep and inexplicable ignorance of the basic workings of the banking system and civil aviation", it added.

Morocco's banking industry also "vigorously" rejected the "serious" and "misleading" allegations, MAP also reported.

The North African neighbours have long had tense diplomatic relations, and their land border has been shut since 1994.


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