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Morocco says keen to keep Algeria-Spain gas pipeline open

This pipeline runs from Hardesty, Alberta, to Cushing, Okla?and Wood River/Patoka, Ill Photograph:( Reuters )
RABAT, Morocco— Morocco wants to keep open a pipeline supplying Algerian gas via the kingdom to consumers in Europe, a senior official has said, despite a downturn in relations between the North African rivals.اضافة اعلان

The operating contract for the Moroccan section of the Maghreb-Europe Gas Pipeline, which links fields in Algeria with Spain, runs out in October.

There had been concern its renewal might fall foul of the latest spat between the two countries.

"Morocco's desire to retain this export route has been expressed clearly and consistently at all levels for more than three years," the head of the National Office for Hydrocarbons and Mines, Amina Benkhadra, told state media. 

"We have said so verbally and in writing, publicly and in private discussions, always with the same clarity and the same consistency," she said Wednesday.

Relations between Rabat and Algiers have been strained for decades amid deep differences over the Western Sahara, a disputed but largely Moroccan-controlled territory where Algiers supports a longstanding independence movement.

The border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.

The situation further deteriorated this week when Algeria said it would "review" relations after accusing Morocco of complicity in deadly forest fires that killed at least 90 people.

Algerian authorities have blamed the fires on widespread arson, singling out the independence movement in the mainly Berber region of Kabylie, which was hardest hit.

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