The relation between Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and UAE experienced ups and downs earlier this year with reports of friction due to an overt challenge to Morocco’s key interests.
Rabat – The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has expressed determination to strengthen ties with its allies, including Morocco.
The council issued a final joint statement at the end of the 40th meeting of the GCC on December 10, stipulating the need to reinforce alliances with several countries, including Morocco and Jordan.
Paragraph 83 of the final joint communique said that the Supreme Council “ directed that the existing strategic partnerships are to be strengthened with the brotherly countries, including Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Iraq, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”
The statement comes as no surprise as members of the GCC, especially Saudi Arabia and UAE, recently reiterated their determination to continue to support Morocco’s key interests, including its territorial integrity.
The vows come after alleged friction between Morocco and its two allies.
The reported rift started in late 2018, when inSaudi Arabia lobbied against Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
Morocco and Saudi Arabia also experienced cold diplomatic moments in 2018 during Morocco’s bidding process to win the 2026 World Cup hosting rights.
Turki Al Sheikh, one of the closet officials to the Saudi palace, who holds close relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made hostile comments about Morocco throughout the bid. Saudi Arabia subsequently voted for Morocco’s rival, the North American bid.
Morocco’s diplomatic channels sensed Saudi’s hostile moves since 2018, with an anonymous source from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledging it in June 2018.
“It is just a matter of time. Rabat is taking its time to know the intentions and priorities of the new Saudi authorities. In the end, Morocco’s national interests will always prevail,” a source at the foreign affairs ministry said under conditions of anonymity.
Observers believe that the tension surged in Late January this year, after an interview broadcast by Al Jazeera with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, who renewed Morocco’s independent diplomacy on the Qatar blockade, the Yemen war, and other regional issues.
A month after the interview, Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya aired a documentary questioning Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Reports suggested that Morocco had recalled both of its ambassadors from UAE and Saudi Arabia after the documentary.
The minister of foreign affairs, however, denied that the envoys were recalled. Instead, he argued that Morocco summoned both emissaries for “consultations on the profound chances that the Gulf region is experiencing at the level of relations between” Gulf countries and Morocco.
Throughout 2019, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs denied any friction with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, stating that the relations between the two allies are historic and strategic.
In March, the official acknowledged that the relations between the three countries, should be based 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.