3.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation
Algeria cooperates with its six bordering nations: the four Maghrebi countries (Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara and Morocco), and two Saharan countries (Mali and Niger).
A cultural cooperation agreement was signed between Maghrebi countries in 1992, establishing the Arabic Maghreb Prize for Cultural Creation. In 1994 the countries signed a second agreement, creating a Maghreb Council for National Book.
Strained relations between Algeria and Morocco—due to problems in the Western Sahara— have hampered the implementation of the 1992 agreement and seriously affected all kinds of multilateral cooperation between 1995 and 2006. However, since 2007 the political tension between the two neighbors has calmed down and collusion has to some extent begun among the four countries of the Maghreb. A conference of Maghrébin ministers of culture was held after 12 years of absence, Algeria organized the 4th Maghreb Book Fair in 2007 after 13 years of absence, and in 2009 Algeria hosted the Maghreb Cultural Heritage Month.
Bilateral relations with Tunisia have always been excellent, especially in artistic exchanges. However, things must be different following the revolution. Tunisia was the first country with which Algeria signed a bilateral agreement on cultural affairs in 1963. Implementation programs of cultural cooperation have been signed between the two countries in 1997/1998, 2001/2002, and 2005/2006. A convention with Mali was signed in 1964, and a protocol for bilateral cultural cooperation in 2007. Algerian Cultural Days in Mali established effective cooperation between the two countries.
With Morocco, Libya and Niger, cooperation is still very weak and is limited to rare artistic exchanges, except for Algerian Cultural Weeks in these three countries.