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Berlin calls in Moroccan ambassador over diplomatic tensions

Morocco has had generally good relations with Germany, which provides it with a substantial amount of financial aid

AFP , Wednesday 3 Mar 2021
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The German government said Wednesday it had called in the Moroccan ambassador in Berlin for "urgent" talks, after Rabat said it had suspended contacts with Germany's embassy.

"Yesterday, we summoned the Moroccan ambassador to urgent talks at the Foreign Ministry to clarify events reported in Morocco," ministry spokesman Christofer Burger told a government press conference in Berlin.

"In our view, there is no reason to restrict diplomatic relations. Germany and Morocco have worked together closely for many decades, which in our view is in the interest of both countries," he added.

"Nothing has changed in Germany's policy towards Morocco."

On Monday, Rabat announced it had halted dealings with the German embassy and German cultural organisations due to a number of disagreements on key issues, including the status of the Western Sahara.

In a letter addressed to the prime minister and published by Moroccan media Monday, Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the decision was in response "deep misunderstandings" on "issues fundamental for Morocco".

"Morocco wishes to preserve its relationship with Germany but this is a form of warning expressing unease over many issues," a senior foreign ministry official told AFP late Monday.

Morocco was angered by German criticism of former US president Donald Trump's recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for moves by Rabat to normalise its relations with Israel, the official said.

Rabat was also dismayed that it was kept out of discussions on Libya's political future at a congress in Berlin in January 2020.

Morocco insists its claim to sovereignty over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara is non-negotiable, despite rival claims by the pro-independence Polisario Front, with which it fought a 1975-91 war.

Morocco has had generally good relations with Germany, which provides it with a substantial amount of financial aid.

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