Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
German embassy isolated
Morocco suspends relations
Germany and Morocco actually have good relations, especially on economic and trade issues. A letter has now leaked out in which the Moroccan Foreign Ministry orders the suspension of all relations with the German embassy. That is surprising.
According to information from Moroccan diplomatic circles, Morocco wants to suspend “all contact” with the German embassy in Rabat. The background was “profound misunderstandings” between Morocco and Berlin, for example in the Western Sahara question, it said. Moroccan media quoted a letter from Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita to Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani. The letter calls on all ministerial departments to “suspend” “all contact and interaction” with the German embassy as well as with organizations and political foundations associated with it. Exceptions would have to be explicitly approved by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
So far there has been no official notification from the Moroccan side. The German embassy in Rabat could not be reached on request in the evening. “We have taken note of the media reports,” said the Foreign Office in Berlin. The exact background for the step is unclear. The Federal Foreign Office describes relations with Morocco on the Internet as “traditionally close, friendly and free of tension”. The Friedrich-Ebert-, Konrad-Adenauer- and Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung have their own offices in the country. Both countries also maintain strong economic and trade relations, and there are strong partnerships in energy projects.
However, there are currently several points of contention between Rabat and the federal government. Among other things, the German criticism of the one-sided recognition of Morocco’s claims over the Western Sahara by the United States caused displeasure in the Moroccan capital. The North African country had previously reacted angrily to its exclusion from the Berlin Libya Conference in January last year.
At the beginning of December, then US President Donald Trump recognized the sovereignty of Morocco over Western Sahara, which was clearly criticized by the German government. Western Sahara, with its half a million inhabitants, was a Spanish colony until 1975 when it was largely occupied and annexed by Morocco. The region has coveted natural resources, including fish-rich waters and phosphate deposits.