Morocco demands explanations Germany

Morocco demands explanations from the German country for not recognising its sovereignty over the Sahara and accuses it directly of "collaboration" with a terrorist

AFP/JOHN MACDOUGALL  -   German Development Minister Gerd Mueller and Moroccan Ambassador to Germany Zohour Alaoui on 10 June 2020.

Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Berlin for consultations. This was announced by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs after accusing the German country of committing "hostile acts" that would be "detrimental to the higher interests of the Kingdom". The reasons that led the Moroccan kingdom to take this decision stem from the tensions that the two countries have been experiencing since March after relations were officially severed. Three days later, the German embassy in Morocco decided to suspend Schengen visa applications for Moroccan citizens, citing the epidemiological situation in the country.

In March, the Alawite kingdom declined to specify the reason for the rupture, claiming simply that it was due to "profound misunderstandings" related to "fundamental issues for Morocco". Now history is repeating itself, but with a big difference: Morocco has issued a statement, detailing the sudden decision to recall its ambassador to Germany for consultations. Morocco accuses the German country of adopting a negative position on the question of Morocco's sovereignty over the Sahara. The Kingdom does not understand "the antagonistic activism" of Germany in the wake of "the US Presidential Proclamation recognising Morocco's sovereignty over its Sahara", which for Morocco "is a serious act that remains unexplained until now".

In addition, the Moroccan authorities directly accuse the country of "complicity with an ex-convict for terrorist acts, in particular by revealing sensitive information communicated by the Moroccan security services". In this regard, Morocco is reportedly requesting the extradition of a former detainee of German nationality named Mohamed Hajeb. Hajeb is accused of inciting terrorist operations in Morocco, for which he was sentenced in 2010 to ten years in prison. However, the sentence was reduced to five years in 2012.

Morocco has requested the extradition of Mohamed Hajeb, a German citizen, whom Rabat accuses of inciting terrorist operations in Morocco

The communiqué goes on to state the reasons for the dismissal, this time with reference to the Libyan issue. In this regard, Berlin addressed the Libyan issue at a conference in January 2020 to which the heads of states involved in the conflict were invited, as well as representatives of the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League, excluding Morocco. Rabat expressed its surprise, adding that it had played "an essential role" in international cooperation to put an end to the conflict.

This diplomatic crisis is going through one of its most complicated moments. The decision on the ambassador reveals the tension between the two states, especially on the Moroccan side, which feels that Germany has committed several disloyalties in its cooperation with the Kingdom.

Nevertheless, Berlin has granted Morocco 1.387 billion euros in aid to support reforms of Morocco's financial system and to help alleviate the effects of the COVID pandemic. Germany is also one of Morocco's main trading partners, with 1.9 billion euros in exports and 1.3 billion euros in imports in 2020.

On the other hand, the German Foreign Ministry expressed its surprise at the communiqué, as it had not been informed in advance by the Moroccan government. The Foreign Ministry does not understand the accusations made by Rabat and says it is "surprised by this measure". According to the ministry, they would now be "making a constructive effort with the Moroccan side to resolve the crisis".