48 hours after the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI, reportedly rejected a request from President Goodluck Jonathan for a telephone conversation, Aso Rock is yet to react to the report.
According to www.moroccoworldnews.com, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a communique released on Friday, said a request by Nigerian authorities for a phone conversation between Mohammed and Jonathan was refused by the Monarch who deemed it “inappropriate on grounds of the upcoming elections in Nigeria.”
Mohammed VI snubbed Mr. Jonathan’s request last week, saying it was more of an attempt to seek electoral favour than a genuine diplomatic act, the country’s foreign ministry said.
The statement explained that the monarch rejected the request for a phone chat and the sending of a Nigerian envoy to the country because Mohammed VI viewed the overture as an attempt by Mr. Jonathan to take advantage of Morocco’s influence to secure Muslim votes in the forthcoming election.
Relations between Nigeria and Morocco have been anything but cordial for years, largely over Nigeria’s decision to support the independence of the Western Sahara region of Morocco.
Nigeria recognises the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic declared by the separatist group, the Polisario Front.
The Algeria-backed Polisario Front has led an armed insurrection against the Moroccan government for decades. Western Sahara is a largely desert region but rich in petroleum and phosphate deposits.
The Moroccan foreign ministry made it clear in its statement that Mohammed VI refused to speak to Mr. Jonathan partly because of “Nigeria’s positions regarding the sacred national, Arab and Islamic causes”.
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