Saudi-Morocco diplomatic tensions deepen

Morocco freezes involvement in Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

Morocco freezes involvement in Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

Tensions have been mounting between Morocco and Saudi Arabia, amid worldwide concerns about Saudi actions in the Yemen war and other issues.

The recall is due to the airing by Saudi TV channel Al Arabiya of a documentary that diverged from the Moroccan position on the Western Sahara issue, the ambassador told Le360.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have traditionally supported Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, which is disputed by the Algerian-backed pro-independence Polisario Front.

The ambassador added that Morocco and Saudi Arabia are bound by strong and longstanding ties that are now undergoing a "transient crisis", Le360 reported.

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition supporting Yemen's government has rejected reports that it was allowing weapons provided by the Unites States to reach the Houthi rebels and extremist groups in the country such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinsula.

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry, for its part, has yet to officially comment on al-Mansouri's abrupt recall.

The officials did not elaborate, simply saying Morocco was not taking part in any military interventions or ministerial meetings with the coalition.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes in Yemen against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. CNN reported the weapons made their way into the hands of Iranian-backed rebels, exposing some of sensitive American military technology to Iran and potentially endangering the lives of United States troops.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in an interview last month with Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera that "on the basis of developments" in Yemen, "there was a change in the form and the content" of Morocco's participation. Morocco's withdrawal from the war in Yemen was no longer a matter of if but when, especially after the intensification of the Saudi-led offensive and seemingly indiscriminate killing of innocent Yemenis. The war has killed thousands and displaced over 3 million people.

In his tour to Maghreb region in November, Mohammed Bin Salman did not visit Morocco, while local media said it was Morocco that cancelled the Saudi crown prince's visit citing "agenda".