…Foreign Affairs Says The Two Leaders Spoke On Phone
By Nuel Suji, Abuja.
The Kingdom of Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Nigeria for “further consultation” over her disagreement with Nigeria on the alleged telephone conversation with its king.
The disagreement arose from a claim that King Mohammed VI, engaged in a telephone conversation with President Goodluck Jonathan, whereas Morocco claimed it turned down President Jonathan’s request for a conversation.
Morocco’s ministry of foreign affairs had alleged that the monarch snubbed Jonathan because he deemed the request inappropriate on the grounds of Nigeria’s forthcoming election.
According to Morocco, “The request by Nigerian authorities for a phone conversation between HM King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President was deemed inappropriate on grounds that it is linked to the important elections in Nigeria and also because of Nigeria’s positions regarding the sacred national, Arab and Islamic causes,” the ministry said in a statement.
But the Nigerian government denied the allegation, saying both leaders held a conversation recently.
A statement by Nigeria’s ministry of foreign affairs, said “Since the King was in France, and not in Morocco, both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern that have nothing to do with the conduct of re-scheduled elections in Nigeria.
“It is therefore preposterous to suggest that Mr. President’s telephone call to the Moroccan Monarch was intended to confer any electoral advantage on the president.”
However, Morocco has insisted that there was no conversation with Jonathan, claiming that the King declined to talk to the Nigerian president.
“The King’s Office categorically denies the false allegations made by Nigerian authorities about an alleged phone conversation between the Sovereign and Nigerian President,” the King’s office reacted.
“The king has actually declined the request of the Nigerian government because it is part of the internal electioneering. The kingdom of Morocco expresses its astonishment and denunciation to these unethical practices that are contrary to the spirit of responsibility that must prevail in relations between states,” the statement added.
Nigeria and Morocco have a history of frosty diplomatic relation because of Nigeria’s support and recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic declared by the Moroccan separatist group, the Polisario Front.
The Polisario Front, which is backed by Morocco’s neighbour, Algeria, seeks an independence for the Western Sahara region of Morocco, a move the Monarch has violently resisted.