With sustained mixed messages from both Morocco and Saudi Arabia, it is becoming difficult to comment on where Rabat and Riyadh currently stand in their bilateral relations.
Rabat – Morocco’s Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported earlier today that King Mohammed VI has sent a message of good wishes and “fraternity” to King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
Even as news ran earlier this week that Morocco and its Saudi ally were again on course for tense relations over Saudi Arabia investing in Mauritania to upset Morocco, the Moroccan and Saudi governments are sending mixed messages set to confound.
MAP reported that the King’s message was warmly received by the Saudi Monarch, who in turn told Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita, the bearer of the Moroccan royal message, that the Saudi kingdom is poised to uphold the “historical and brotherly” ties with Morocco.
Bourita’s Saudi visit was an opportunity to discuss wide-ranging issues in the MENA region, according to MAP. The Moroccan minster’s audience with King Salman was marked by the presence of high-ranking Saudi officials, including the Saudi interior and foreign ministers.
Prior to his meeting with the Saudi monarch, Bourita met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known asMBS. The two discussed “bilateral cooperation and the latest developments on the regional scene.”
Relations between Rabat and Riyadh have been rocky lately.
The two kingdoms’ alliance has been mired in “scandals” as statements from a Saudi news outlet challenged Morocco’s interests on issues, including Western Sahara, that Rabat considers key to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In Riyadh, meanwhile, Morocco’s apparent withdrawal from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and refusal to take part in the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar did not sit well with the Saudi establishment.
But Bourita’s Saudi trip is set to contradict news of seemingly irreconcilable geopolitical disagreements as a result of what some analysts have called the “MBS factor.”
The visit may not be enough to counter a perception in Moroccan circles that Saudi Arabia has not been a reliable ally since MBS rose to political prominence.