Morocco suspends contacts with the German embassy | Political news
Officials say the move is in part due to “ deep misunderstandings ” in Berlin’s position on Western Sahara.
Morocco has suspended contacts with the German embassy in the North African kingdom in part over what officials have called Berlin’s position on the Western Sahara conflict.
In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister on Monday evening and published by Moroccan media, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the decision to suspend relations with the embassy as well as with German cultural organizations was taken in response to “deep misunderstandings” on “fundamental questions for Morocco”.
“Morocco wishes to preserve its relations with Germany, but it is a form of warning expressing unease over many issues,” a senior foreign ministry official told AFP news agency.
“There will be no contact until we have received answers to the various questions we have asked.”
Morocco has been angered by Germany’s criticism of former US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for the steps taken by Rabat to normalize relations with Israel, the official said.
He was also dismayed that he did not participate in discussions on Libya’s political future at a congress in Berlin in January 2020.
These measures showed the “contempt” of the German authorities, said the senior official.
Morocco has generally had good relations with Germany. Three months ago, the Moroccan foreign minister praised “the excellence of bilateral cooperation” after Berlin released 1.39 billion euros ($ 1.6 billion) to support Moroccan financial reforms and coronavirus countermeasures.
There was no immediate comment from the German Embassy in Rabat.
The separatist movement of the Polisario Front, backed by Algeria, seeks to establish an independent state for Western Sahara, a vast desert region that Morocco has held since the withdrawal from Spain in 1975 and which Rabat considers its southern province.
The region is on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories, a position also adopted by the African Union, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the European Union.
To date, a referendum has not had its status, with the main sticking points being the formation of the electoral rolls, especially since there have been attempts on both sides to change the demographics of the region in the aim to influence the results.
The region has some 500,000 people, most of whom live in the capital, Laâyoune.