On Wednesday, the Saudi king received Morocco’s Minister of Tourism Mohamed Sajid in Mina, near Mecca. The minister led a Moroccan delegation on the 2018 Hajj pilgrimage.
The Moroccan official conveyed a message from King Mohammed VI to King Salman, thanking him for his country’s efforts to facilitate Hajj pilgrims as they performed the Hajj rituals.
King Salman also sent his greetings and esteem to the King and the Moroccan people, emphasizing the ties of “fraternity linking the two royal families and the solidity of historical relations between the two peoples.”
The Saudi king chaired an address in honor of officials and heads of official delegations in Hajj, where he stressed his country’s determination to consolidate cooperation and to establish peace and security around the world.
He added that his country is mobilizing “all its human and financial resources to facilitate the accomplishment of Hajj.”
King Salman’s surprise summer destination
Known for his summer holidays in Morocco, the 83-year old king chose to spend this year’s summer break in the planned city of Neom, Saudi Arabia, for business matters.
Neom is a project which will cost Saudi Arabia more than $500 million to build. It is intended to create more job opportunities in the tech sector and to include a tourist resort.
King Salman’s decision to summer in Neom raised speculations on social media and in headlines when Saudi news outlets confirmed the domestic vacation.
Moroccan news outlets, including L’Economiste, guessed that the royal decision might have been caused by the last minute campaigning before the vote for the 2026 World Cup host.
In the competition between the North American bid and Morocco’s bid, Saudi Arabia launched a strong campaign for North America, disappointing their fellow Arabs in Morocco.
Saudi Arabia irritated over Moroccan neutrality
Before voting for his country’s “strongest ally,” Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority Chairman Turki Al-Sheikh expressed anti-Moroccan sentiments.
Morocco’s neutrality in the Gulf crisis between the Saudi coalition and Qatar incensed the Saudi official.
Al-Sheikh took to his Twitter to blame Morocco for losing Saudi Arabia’s favor.
Al Sheikh tweeted: “Some people went astray. If you want our support, you should seek it in Riyadh. What you are doing is wasting your time. Now ask the pseudo-state to help you,” referring to Qatar.
Al Sheikh’s comments did not go unnoticed, especially when Saudi Arabia voted against Morocco on the eve of 2018 World Cup.
Fans who followed the Moroccan team to Russia in the 2018 World Cup booed the official.