Morocco re-evaluates role in Saudi-led Yemen war coalition
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Government officials say 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.
Tensions have been mounting between Morocco and Saudi Arabia, amid international concerns about Saudi actions in the Yemen war and other issues.
Morocco is not currently taking part in military interventions or ministerial meetings in the Saudi-led coalition, according to a Moroccan government official.
The official didn’t elaborate. Morocco’s government has not divulged details of its military’s participation in the coalition, which has been at war in Yemen against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015. The war has killed thousands and displaced over 3 million people.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in an interview last month with Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera that “on the basis of developments” in Yemen, “there was a change in the form and the content” of Morocco’s participation.
Asked why Rabat didn’t host Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a recent tour of other Arab countries, Bourita said: “Official visits are prepared in advance, according to protocol.”
The tour came amid international concern about the Yemen war and condemnation of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. According to one of the officials, Morocco declined to host the Saudi crown prince, citing the Moroccan king’s “busy agenda.”
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 colonizers left in 1975. Morocco considers the Western Sahara its southern territories.
Morocco recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia for consultations after the report aired, according to another Moroccan government official.
Both government officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the diplomatic tensions.
Morocco’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mustapha Mansouri, did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.