Saudi-Morocco diplomatic tensions deepen

Rabat recalls its ambassador to Saudi Arabia after Saudi television channel Al-Arabiya said in documentary that Morocco ‘invaded’ Western Sahara in 1975.

CASABLANCA - Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia amid deepening diplomatic tensions between the two nations, according to the Associated Press.

AP quoted two Moroccan government officials as saying Morocco has stopped taking part in military action with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's war, and has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

A Moroccan government official said Thursday that Morocco no longer takes part in military interventions or ministerial meetings in the Saudi-led coalition.

Morocco's government has not divulged details of its military's participation in the coalition, which has been at war in Yemen against Iran-aligned Huthi rebels since 2015.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in an interview last month with Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera that Morocco's participation in Yemen had "changed."

Bourita also hinted that Rabat had serious reservations about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's recent tour of other Arab countries, amid international condemnation of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul.

According to one of the sources, Morocco declined to host the Saudi crown prince in an unusual snub, citing the Moroccan king's "busy agenda."

After Bourita's interview, Saudi television channel Al-Arabiya aired a documentary on the disputed Western Sahara, supporting claims that Morocco invaded it after Spanish colonizers left in 1975. Morocco considers the Western Sahara its southern territories.

Another Moroccan government official said that the North African kingdom recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia for consultations after the report aired.

Both government officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the diplomatic tensions.

Morocco's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mustapha Mansouri, is in the Moroccan capital Rabat.