The Saudi support comes after a series of hostile moves against vital Moroccan interests.
Rabat – Morocco’s Head of the House of Councillors Hakim Benchmach and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lahbib El Malki, received on Monday the Saudi ambassador to Morocco Abdullah bin Saad Al Ghariri in Rabat.
Territorial integrity is red line
During his meeting with El Malki, the Saudi diplomat reiterated Riyadh’s continuous support for Morocco’s territorial integrity. The Saudi stressed the significance of Morocco for his country, saying that support for Moroccan territorial integrity “is a red line and an immutable principle of Saudi foreign policy.”
Reporting on the high-profile meeting, Morocco’s Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) indicated that the Saudi diplomat also expressed satisfaction with the progress Morocco has made in multiple sectors, including urban development projects in the fields of infrastructure and transportation.
“Tourism is booming in Morocco,” he said.
In its report of the same meeting, however, Saudi News Agency (SPA) did not report on Saudi Arabia embracing Morocco’s territorial integrity. The agency simply noted that the Saudi ambassador and his Moroccan hosts exchanged on bilateral relations.
The news agency added that the officials also spoke on the prospects of the Rabat-Riyadh ties in a number of fields.
It is an alleged friction
Reports of Riyadh’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity come after a series of unfriendly moves towards Morocco’s interests. The first move was when Saudi Arabia allegedly lobbied against Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid.
The second move came in the wake of reported friction between the two countries, when pro-Saudi government news television channel Al Arabiya aired a pro-Polisario documentary. The episod caused notably irked Moroccans, prompting many to call on the Moroccan government to reassess its alliance with Saudi Arabia.
Since then, several news reports have spoken of total friction between Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
Earlier this year, both national and international news outlets reported that Morocco recalled its ambassador from Saudi Arabia due to the alleged friction. The reports argued that Morocco, especially angered by the airing of the unfriendly Al Arabya documentary, wanted to raise the tone in its apparently shaky relations with Saudi Arabia.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs denied the friction, however, describing diplomatic ties with Gulf countries as “strong” and “brotherly.”
In March, however, Bourita addressed a strong message to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, emphasizing that cooperation with Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, should depend on reciprocity. Bourita’s statement has been largely interpreted as a direct request that Riyadh be more respectful of bilateral agreements and principles should it want to remain a Moroccan ally.
“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,” Bourita said in March before his Gulf tour.
A visit from Bourita to Saudi Arabia, however, has cast doubts speculations of a spat between Rabat and Riyadh.
In April, Bourita met with both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman.
In both meetings, Bourita conveyed a message of loyalty and brotherhood from King Mohammed VI. The message addressed “bilateral cooperation and the latest developments on the regional scene.”
The meetings were part of a Gulf tour carried out by Bourita to several other countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Jordan.