After discussing his country’s position on the Western Sahara conflict, the Russian Ambassador to Rabat denied that Rabat and Moscow are currently engaged in talks on a possible military deal.
In a series of articles posted by Russian news outlet Sputnik News, the Russian ambassador to Morocco, Valerian Shuvaev, discussed Moroccan-Russian diplomatic ties, military agreements with Rabat, and his country’s position on the Western Sahara conflict.
Shuvaev said that “it is early to discuss the possibility of selling S-400s in Morocco as the country has made no official request.”
In 2017, international media reported that Morocco is interested in acquiring Russian S-400 ground to air missile system.
In response, Shuarev said that “You should understand that it is a very complex system. In order to deploy such an air defense system an extensive preparation process and understanding why they are required.”
Traditionally, the US is Morocco’s largest military supplier. In November, the US State Department announced that it has approved a “possible foreign military sale to Morocco” for a budget of $1.259 billion.
For Russia, Algeria remains its primary buyer. But, the Russian diplomat said that his country has “no limits in our military and technical cooperation, especially when it comes to Morocco. These issues depend on the Moroccan party to a large extent.”
The Russian diplomat added that Morocco showed “interest in Russian military production,” adding that his country is ready to cooperate.
Quoting CNBC television channel, Sputnik said that at least 13 countries are interested in acquiring Russia’s S-400, including Morocco.
In recent years, Morocco has been determined to build a stronger military, investing billions of dollars in the purchase of machine guns and equipment for tanks from the US.
Global Firepower ranked Morocco 55th among 136 countries in its 2018 military strength ranking.
Although Morocco has increased its military spending in recent years, Algeria remains the first in Africa to spend billions of dollars on military equipment. Algeria was ranked 23rd, according to the Global Firepower.