UAE ambassador to Morocco abruptly 'recalled' by Abu Dhabi

UAE ambassador to Morocco abruptly 'recalled' by Abu Dhabi
The Emirati ambassador to Rabat has reportedly been recalled by Abu Dhabi, in a move which may signal increasing tensions between the two countries over the Gulf crisis.
2 min read
23 April, 2019
Tensions between Morocco and the UAE are rumoured to have increased recently [AFP]

The UAE's ambassador to Morocco abruptly left the country a few days ago, having been recalled in an "urgent request" by Abu Dhabi, local media have reported.

The move may signal new tensions in the relationship between Rabat and Abu Dhabi, which has been strained by Morocco's failure to side with the UAE and Saudi Arabia in their ongoing blockade of Qatar, launched in 2017.

Ambassador Ali Salem al-Kaabi left at the request of Emirati President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Akhbar al-Youm reported without specifying the reason why Kaabi was recalled.

Neither Emirati nor Moroccan state news agencies have published an official comment on Kaabi's sudden departure from the North African kingdom.

Kaabi has only been the UAE's ambassador to Morocco since August last year.

Despite pleas from the UAE, Morocco has opted to remain neutral throughout the Gulf crisis, and has continued relations with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Tensions between the UAE and Morocco are rumoured to have grown over the past few months.

Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al-Arabiya in February broadcast a documentary which Morocco considered to have undermined its claims of sovereignity over the contested Western Sahara region. Morocco allegedly recalled its ambassadors to the UAE and Saudi Arabia in response to the programme.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita later denied the news, claiming that Morocco had requested the ambassadors' return in order for them to attend important meetings.

Morocco's ambassador to Saudi Arabia was pictured meeting with the Saudi minister for African Affairs a few weeks later.

At the same time, Morocco abdicated its role in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, leaving lasting rumours of mounting tensions between the Gulf countries and Morocco.

When Bourita failed to visit the UAE in a diplomatic tour of the Gulf in March, the foreign minister did not explain why he had not traveled to the regional heavyweight country.

The Moroccan official visited both Saudi Arabia and Qatar during the tour.

The foreign minister did, however, explain that Morocco sometimes disagreed with the UAE.

"Relations with Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have always been strong," Bourita said, according to Yabiladi.

"Sometimes we may disagree on certain issues, foreign policy being a matter of sovereignty. In Morocco, it is also based on principles and fundamental values."