Morocco did not recall its ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Nasser Bourita says

Clay Curtis
February 12, 2019

In a closely related development, however, Moroccan media reported Thursday evening that Rabat had made a decision to withdraw from a Saudi-led military coalition drawn up in 2015 to fight the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Broadcast by Al Arabiya, the documentary on Western Sahara questions the territorial integrity of Morocco for an area of the desert contested for over 40 years.

The tour came amid global concern about the Yemen war and condemnation of the killing of Saudi national and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its territory while the Sahrawi people there demands self-determination, which is supported by Morocco's eastern neighbor Algeria.

Morocco recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia for consultations after the report aired, according to another Moroccan government official.

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There was no official confirmation from Morocco's foreign ministry regarding the recall, the Reuters news agency reported.

A Moroccan government official said Thursday that Morocco no longer takes part in military interventions or ministerial meetings in the Saudi-led coalition. "Especially given the strength of the historic ties between our two countries".

The documentary came just a month after Morocco's foreign minister Nasser Bourita expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen in an interview with Qatari channel Al Jazeera.

Bourita also hinted that Rabat had serious reservations about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's recent tour of other Arab countries, amid worldwide condemnation of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, did not vote for Morocco's 2026 World Cup bid after the north African kingdom took a neutral stand in a dispute between Qatar and a number of Gulf states who have severed relations with Doha.

The tour came amid global concern about the Yemen war and condemnation of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul.

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