Bourita’s remarks come as Saudi Arabia moves forward with the Riyadh Agreement to restore unity within the anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen.
Rabat – Morocco’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Morocco “unequivocally” supports Saudi Arabia’s decisions aimed at maintaining the Gulf kingdom’s sovereignty and security.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, met with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on July 29 in Rabat.
“Morocco clearly and unequivocally renews its support for all the decisions and positions taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to preserve its security, its sovereignty, and the comfort of its citizens,” Bourita said, according to the foreign ministry.
“Saudi security and territorial integrity is a red line,” he stressed.
“Morocco will remain attentive to the positions, analyses, and evaluations carried out by Saudi Arabia because this stems from Riyadh’s concern for the stability and security of Arab countries,” Bourita underlined, according to the same source.
While the Moroccan foreign minister did not contextualize his remarks, his support for Saudi Arabia’s “sovereign decisions” comes as the Gulf kingdom moves forward with the Riyadh Agreement to restore unity within the anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen.
Latest developments in Yemen
Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced Wednesday it has abandoned its aspirations for self-rule and will implement a peace deal with the President of Yemen, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
STC and the Hadi government are both members of the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels, but the two parties have long suffered a tense rivalry. In April, the UAE-backed STC split from its alliance with the Hadi government and unilaterally declared self-rule, triggering a fresh wave of conflict in Yemen.
Now, the STC has agreed to implement the Riyadh Agreement, a power-sharing deal initially created in November 2019.
The Riyadh Agreement aims to end the rivalry between the STC and Hadi’s government. Saudi Arabia considers it as a means of restoring order so allied parties can effectively and cohesively tackle the Houthis.
The Saudi government proposed Wednesday a mechanism to “accelerate” the agreement’s implementation.
The proposed mechanism seeks to maintain the June 22 ceasefire and de-escalation between the Hadi government and the STC, appoint a governor and security director for the Aden Governorate, have military forces exit Aden, and separate the forces of the two rivals in Abyan.
Saudi Arabia also wants the Yemeni prime minister to form a “politically competent” government within 30 days. The government should have equal representation of Yemen’s north and south and include ministers who represent the STC.
Once the STC and the Hadi government follow through with these measures, the Yemeni government should move to finalize the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
Both the STC and the Hadi government have accepted the proposed mechanism. The two parties vowed to prioritize the interests of the Yemeni people and advance means to end the crisis in the country, particularly in accordance with the UN.
The agreement by the Legitimate Yemeni Government and the Southern Transitional Council to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement is a positive step towards reaching a wholistic and sustainable political solution in Yemen under the auspices of the UN.
— فيصل بن فرحان (@FaisalbinFarhan) July 29, 2020
Morocco’s history with Saudi Arabia in Yemen
Morocco was formerly part of the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen and withdrew its military forces from the conflict in early 2019. Soon after, Saudi state television network Al Arabiya aired a documentary challenging Morocco’s territorial integrity in Western Sahara. Morocco then recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia in February.
Neither country confirmed that the three events were related, and Morocco returned its ambassador to Riyadh in April 2019 with a message of “fraternity” from King Mohammed VI to King Salman of Saudi Arabia.
However, speculation has brewed since 2017 that a rift exists between Rabat and Riyadh, despite the continued exchange of diplomatic visits.
With Bourita now relaying Morocco’s support for Saudi Arabia’s “sovereign decisions,” the two countries are demonstrating continued efforts to portray an image of unity.