The UAE’s request followed the country’s conspicuous absence from the recent Gulf tour of Morocco’s foreign minister, which included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, and Kuwait.
Rabat – The UAE ambassador to Morocco, Ali Salem Al Kaabi, has left the North African country at a “sovereign” Emirati request, according to Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum.
The newspaper obtained information from anonymous sources who said that the ambassador left Morocco for the UAE “all of a sudden.”
The newspaper added that the Emirati ambassador was appointed a year ago to Morocco without giving further details about the ambassador’s summons home.
The state-owned Emirati news agency has not confirmed the withdrawal, but the alleged move comes within the context of rumors of friction between Rabat, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh.
Last week, Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita completed a tour of five Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia. The minister, however, excluded the UAE from his Gulf tour, leaving room open for further speculation on tension between Rabat and Abu Dhabi.
Amid stories of escalating friction, international media reported in February that Morocco had recalled its ambassadors to the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The reports followed the airing of a documentary by a pro-Saudi government television channel which challenged Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara conflict.
The Moroccan government, however, denied that it had recalled its ambassadors from the Gulf states, describing the summoning of its ambassadors as a normal procedure for consultation.
Bourita also described Morocco’s diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE as strong and historic, before saying that cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the UAE will from now on depend on reciprocity.
“It may happen that we do not agree on certain issues. Foreign policy is a matter of sovereignty, and in Morocco, it is also based on principles and constants,” said Bourita in March before his Gulf tour.
The foreign minister said that from “the point of view of Morocco, relations with Gulf countries,” especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, “have always been deep historical relations.”
Two weeks following his statement, Bourita flew to Saudi Arabia and conveyed a “brotherly” message from King Mohammed VI, suggesting that diplomatic ties between Riyadh-Rabat were as strong as they have always been.
Moroccan media also reported that King Mohammed VI is expected to arrive in Saudi Arabia on an official visit on April 24.