Saudi Arabia, Morocco Emphasize ‘Historic’ Ties amid Alleged Friction

the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly Abdullah Mohammed Ibrahim Al Sheikh and head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani

Rabat – On Tuesday, the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly Abdullah Mohammed Ibrahim Al Sheikh expressed his satisfaction with the “long-standing relations” between Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Al Sheikh used nearly identical words to those Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita used when reporters asked him about the alleged friction between the two countries.

Bourita said last month that Morocco’s diplomatic ties with Gulf countries are strong, especially with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The sentiment was repeated during an official meeting between Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Sheikh and Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani.

The bilateral talks took place during the 14th session of the Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States in Rabat.

Friction fading away?

During the meeting, El Othmani also commended Saudi Arabia’s leadership on several issues, emphasizing the “convergence of the two countries’ positions in many international issues.”

Morocco and Saudi Arabia have recently been exchanging formal letters pledging measures to strengthen their diplomatic ties.

The countries, however, have been at the center of rumors about deteriorating diplomatic ties because of Morocco’s neutral position on the Gulf crisis between the Saudi coalition and Qatar.

According to several analysts, Saudi Arabia was angered by Morocco’s neutrality.

Read Also: Timeline: All You Should Know About Morocco-Saudi Arabia Friction

Saudi Arabia expressed its displeasure with Morocco’s neutrality when it voted against Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup in favor of United 2026 during the June 2018 FIFA vote.

Another move that angered Morocco came through Saudi Arabia’s pro-government news agency Al Arabia, which aired a documentary against Morocco’s territorial integrity.

Following the documentary, rumors intensified about Morocco’s reaction, and some news outlets reported that the kingdom recalled its ambassador from Saudi Arabia.

Morocco’s foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, denied the allegations, emphasizing that the ambassador had returned to Rabat as part of a normal consultation process.

In a press conference in February, Bourita commended the excellent diplomatic ties between Morocco and Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The UAE, a member of the Saudi coalition blockading Qatar, also expressed “unwavering support” for Morocco’s territorial integrity.

In a meeting with El Othmani on Monday in Rabat, the UAE’s Federal National Council director, Amal Bin Abdullah Al Qubaisi, said that Morocco’s territorial integrity is unquestionable and indisputable.

The official also supported Morocco’s dialogue initiative of inviting Algeria to engage in direct and frank talks to break the stalemate.

The official said that Morocco’s initiative is the best means to resolve the decades-long conflict between the two countries.