Rabat - Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has warned against the “political exploitation” of the seizure of 50,000 tonnes of Moroccan phosphate.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has warned against the “political exploitation” of the seizure of 50,000 tonnes of Moroccan phosphate.
Speaking in front of the Chamber of Councillors on Tuesday, the minister said that the South African judge did not have the right to order the seizure of ship NM Cherry Blossom and that the competence of legal jurisdiction is usually focused on crimes against humanity, like torture.
The daily newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum quoted Bourita as saying “it is necessary you know that neither the ship, nor the merchandise, nor the seller, nor the client, nor the team have a relationship with South Africa.” The minister even went as far as to address South Africa as a nation, stating, “this type of behaviour risks damaging the reputation of your country.”
The ship carrying the phosphate worth USD 5 million for the Moroccan state-run Office Cherifien des Phosphates, NM Cherry Blossom, was detained on May 4 when it stopped to refuel in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The detention came after allegations by the Polisario that the cargo “had been taken illegally from the Western Sahara.”
The detention of the ship is a clear violation of international law and is an action that Morocco World News senior analyst Samir Bennis has labelled a “political move”. Bennis also noted that it is motivated by South Africa’s “determination to serve the agenda of the Polisario and Algeria and divert the attention of the international community from the core issue of the Western Sahara.”
Cherry Blossom’s detention in South Africa is the first time in thirty years that cargo bound for New Zealand has been apprehended.