"Zouj Beghal", literally translated means "the two mules." This is the name given to the northern border between Algeria and Morocco at the time of the French occupation. For local people with family connections on different sides of the border its closure has caused years of problems. Now there are calls for an airline service between Oran and Oujda
The Federation of Algerian consumers has sent a motion to the Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, for consideration of the possibility of opening an air route linking Oran in Oujda. This significant demand is based on the difficulties citizens encounter two countries wishing to visit their respective families.
The closure of the land border between Morocco and Algeria, penalises residents of neighbouring regions and all those who have parents and relatives on both sides. Today, the only available flights connect the capital Algiers to Casablanca. And for those who have relatives in the border towns, they still have to travel hundreds of kilometres to reach their destination.
The president of the federation insists humanitarian considerations, particularly in the case of death when the relatives are unable to attend the funeral of one of their own, need to be addressed.
If the Algerian Prime Minister agreed to this request, the Moroccan government would have to agree. Opening the border would be a step in the right direction, given that the road distance between Oujda and Oran is less than 200 kilometres or, by plane around half an hour.
While Algeria has changed the name of the border since independence and renamed it "Akid Lotfi" after one of the leaders of the Algerian revolution, Morocco has retained the name given by the French. But, names aside, pending the reopening of the Zouj Beghal frontier post, an air route would please many on both sides of the border.