Like Morocco, Saudi Arabia favors a Libyan-led political solution to the country’s internal crisis.
Rabat – Morocco and Saudi Arabia have converging views on various regional issues, including the Libyan crisis, Morocco’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, met with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on July 29 in Rabat. During a press conference after the talks, bin Farhan said Morocco and Saudi Arabia share views on challenges facing the Arab world.
“These challenges require common coordination and cooperation to address them, while ensuring the consecration of the foundations of peace and security throughout the region,” he said, according to Morocco’s foreign ministry.
The Saudi FM highlighted Saudi Arabia’s concern over foreign intervention in the Libyan conflict.
Saudi Arabia, he said, aims to protect “Libyans from the effects of terrorism, conflict, and external intervention and greed” that may transpire as a result of foreign intervention.
Bin Farhan expressed Saudi Arabia’s support for a “100% Libyan solution” to the crisis.
His remarks align with the official position of Morocco as laid out in the 2015 Skhirat Agreement, favoring a Libyan-led political solution to the conflict. Morocco has repeatedly warned against foreign intervention in the conflict.
Bourita reiterated Morocco’s position on Wednesday, the ministry reported. His remarks follow talks with the President of the Libyan House of Representatives, Aguila Saleh Issa, who led a Libyan delegation on an official visit to Morocco.
“Morocco will always have open arms for Libyans, without any agenda. Our only aim is the unity and stability of Libya and a solution to the ongoing crisis,” Bourita said on Monday during a press conference with Saleh, who embraced the Moroccan stance.
Saudi Arabia and Libya’s neighboring countries
The affirmation of Moroccan-Saudi convergence of views on the Libyan conflict follows regional and international speculation that the Gulf kingdom favors Algeria’s stance.
The Saudi FM met with Algerian President Abdelmajjid Tebboune on Tuesday, one day before his visit to Rabat.
تشرفت بنقل تحيات مولاي خادم الحرمين الشريفين وسيدي سمو ولي العهد لفخامة الرئيس عبدالمجيد تبون، واستعرضنا خلال اللقاء الروابط الوثيقة والعريقة بالجزائر وتواصل البلدين الإيجابي لحاضر ومستقبل مشرق للشعبين الشقيقين pic.twitter.com/VMNTTYqBbi
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) July 28, 2020
In a statement to the Algerian press, bin Farhan stressed the “important and central role of the neighboring countries in the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Libya in order to protect this brother country against terrorism and foreign interference.”
Libya’s neighbors include Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt.
“We are committed to coordinating with Algeria and we will try with the neighboring countries to reach a settlement which preserves this country and allows it to regain its stability,” bin Farhan added.
Algeria’s position on Libya falls under the framework of the January 19 Berlin Conference, from which Morocco was notably excluded. Algeria’s president has said he refuses to step outside of this framework, thereby rejecting the centrality of Morocco’s Skhirat Agreement and Saleh’s support for it.
Algeria is keen to maintain its “mediating” role in the conflict. On Monday, as the Libyan delegation engaged in talks with Moroccan officials, Algeria’s foreign minister, Sabi Boukadoum, called his Libyan counterpart from the Government of National Accord (GNA), Mohamed Taher Siala.
Boukadoum and Siala discussed coordination and mechanisms for the return of the political process in Libya and the role Algeria plays in the Libya dossier.
A shared desire for security and stability
Whether Saudi Arabia holds more support for Morocco or Algeria’s position on Libya is not immediately clear. What bin Faisal did make clear, however, is that Saudi Arabia and Morocco share converging views on two key elements: Opposition to foreign intervention and support for a Libyan-Libyan solution.
Apart from talks on Libya, the Moroccan and Saudi foreign ministers voiced a mutual interest in strengthening bilateral relations between Morocco and Saudi Arabia. While rumors of a rift dampen the image of Rabat-Riyadh relations, the two countries have expressed a shared commitment to improving ties.