Rabat – Will Morocco’s refusal to take a side in the Saudi Arabia-led blockade of Qatar affect relations between the two kingdoms? the answer is no, says Moroccan political analyst Tarik Tlaty.
The two kingdoms had divergent attitudes towards Qatar after Saudi Arabia and two other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, severed ties with Qatar in early June over allegations it had supported terrorism and was destabilizing the security of the Gulf.
Several countries aligned with Saudi Arabia and UAE followed in their footsteps, announcing cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar or reducing their diplomatic representation with Doha.
Morocco, an ally of both Saudi Arabia and UAE, abstained from boycotting Qatar and offered its mediation to alleviate the tension between the GCC neighbors. A stance that prompted some to talk about a Saudi resentment of Morocco’s neutrality.
The suspicions were confirmed by the twice re-airing of a controversial report on Western Sahara on the Saudi-owned news TV channel Al Arabiya Al Hadath. The report was aired in June and again this Friday.
But in comments to Morocco World News, Tlaty belittled the significance of the incident. The President of the Moroccan Center for Strategic Studies and Research (CMERS) explained that, despite differences on the Qatar crisis, ties between Morocco and Saudi Arabia and UAE are “almost exemplary” and date back to many years.
Tlaty believes Morocco’s mediation efforts could lead to some substantial results in bridging the gap between Doha and its neighbors. Morocco’s neutrality was a “smart” move, Tlaty suggested.
“The Kingdom [of Morocco] aims to create peace in the Gulf because there are already enough conflicts in the region and it should be spared other ones,” he said, stressing that any disputes that may arise between Morocco and Saudi Arabia will be ephemeral.