Morocco recalls envoy to Saudi Arabia as diplomatic tensions rise

Elias Hubbard
February 12, 2019

Moroccan government officials said Thursday Feb. 7, 2019 that Morocco has stopped taking part in military action with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war, and has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

The well-informed news website quoted Morocco's ambassador to Riyadh Mustafa Mansouri confirming news relayed by the AP news agency which quoted an anonymous source.

After Bourita's interview, Saudi television channel Al Arabiya aired a documentary on the disputed Western Sahara, supporting claims that Morocco invaded it after Spanish colonisers left in 1975.

Al Qaeda no longer held any territory in Yemen as a result of these and other operations with USA support, Col Al Malki said, and the coalition would continue to counter AQAP and work with worldwide partners to do so.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry, for its part, has yet to officially comment on al-Mansouri's abrupt recall.

One of the officials said Morocco was no longer involved in military interventions or ministerial meetings in the coalition.

Saudi Arabia entered Yemen's war in 2015 in an attempt to roll back advances made by the Houthis, a group of Shia rebels who overran much of the country in 2014.

Bourita told Al Jazeera that Morocco's participation in Yemen had changed due to "developments on the ground" in the country, "especially in regards to the humanitarian situation".

Morocco's decision to recall its ambassador comes after Saudi television channel Al Arabiya broadcast a documentary on the Western Sahara conflict hostile to Morocco's territorial integrity. The war has killed thousands and displaced over 3 million people.

2018 has seen rising tensions between the two historical allies, with a series of tit-for-tat moves showing the two kingdoms' discontent over each other's diplomatic standing, concurrently with the rise to power of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The good relations between Morocco and Qatar have irked some circles within the Saudi regime to the extent that Saudi Arabia and the UAE that turns in its orbit voted against Morocco in the 2026 World Cup.

Rabat also stayed notably silent in the Jamal Khashoggi killing, while the Saudi royal family cancelled their annual holiday plans to Morocco a year ago.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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