By Khalid Mejdoub, Afra Aksoy and Gulsen Topcu
Morocco on Monday urged Algeria to officially respond to a call by Rabat for direct dialogue between the two countries.
Earlier this month, Moroccan King Mohammed VI proposed that a committee be formed to "normalize" relations with the country’s eastern neighbor.
In a written statement, the Moroccan Foreign Ministry underlined its regret that Algiers had yet to reply to the proposal, adding that Rabat "remains open and optimistic" on the future of relations between the two countries.
The statement stressed that the proposal was unrelated to Algiers’ call for a meeting to reconvene the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) after years of inactivity, adding it was due mainly to the current state of Moroccan-Algerian relations.
It added that outstanding issues between the two countries would be best resolved through direct bilateral dialogue.
The two nations are part of the Maghreb region, a major area of North Africa that also includes Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.
Formally established in 1989 in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, the AMU envisions the eventual economic and political integration of the five Maghreb states.
The Algerian-Moroccan border has been officially sealed since 1994 when Rabat began requiring travel visas from Algerian nationals following a terrorist attack. Algiers responded by closing its border with its western neighbor.
Morocco accuses Algeria of backing Western Sahara's Polisario Front, which continues to battle the Moroccan government for the region.