The Moroccan authorities have denounced as a lie, the claim by the Federal Government that President Goodluck Jonathan had a telephone conversation with King Mohammed VI.
The North African Kingdom also recalled its ambassador to Nigeria over what it described as the “incredible twist” that Nigeria introduced into the dispute.
Rabat said that it was stating in the “clearest and strongest terms,” that “there has never been a telephone conversation” between the two leaders.
In two separate statements issued within 24 hours on Wednesday, it accused the Goodluck Jonathan administration of using the King for electioneering.
The two statements were posted on the kingdom’s official website, Maroc.ma.
The first was titled, ‘Morocco Denies False Allegations About Alleged Phone Conversation Between HM The King, and Nigerian President’ while the second statement, is titled ‘Morocco recalls its ambassador in Abuja for consultations.’
Last week, the Moroccan royal palace said the king had declined a request for a telephone conversation with Jonathan.
But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Monday denied the snub, saying the two leaders had spoken extensively. It also denied that the Federal Government was using Mohammed VI to woo Muslim voters in Nigeria.
“This information is absolutely not correct as the President did in fact speak to the Moroccan monarch… both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern,” the Foreign Affairs ministry had said.
The ministry added that it was “preposterous to suggest that Mr. President’s telephone call to the Moroccan monarch was intended to confer any electoral advantage.”
However, the North African country , in the statements denounced the claim by Abuja as “unethical practices.”
“The king has actually declined the request of the Nigerian government because it is part of the internal electioneering,” it added.
Before issuing this lengthy press release, Rabat had issued a terse statement to debunk the claim by Abuja that the heads of state had a telephone conversation.
The statement read, ”Morocco is surprised at the incredible twist given by Nigeria to an alleged phone conversation that never took place between HM King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President, the King’s Office said Tuesday.
The King’s Office categorically denies the false allegations made by Nigerian authorities about an alleged phone conversation between the Sovereign and Nigerian President.”
Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa have long backed the move for independence by the people of a tract of the Sahara Desert led by the Polisario Front.
The tract has been at the centre of a long-running dispute between Morocco and fighters of the Polisario Front.
The territory is said to be rich in phosphate and experts have also said that it is rich in oil.
When contacted, the Director, Public Affairs Communication Division, MFA, Ahmedu Ogbole-Ode, said the ministry has not received an official communication from Morocco on the withdrawal of its envoy.
On the controversy over the telephone conversation between Jonathan and the Moroccan monarch, the director said the ministry would respond once it gets a directive from “higher authorities to do so.”
Morocco Denies False Allegations About Alleged Phone Conversation Between HM The King, Nigerian President
Morocco is surprised at the incredible twist given by Nigeria to an alleged phone conversation that never took place between HM King Mohammed VI and Nigerian President, the King’s Office said Tuesday.
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 said in a statement.
Contrary to the allegations made by Nigerian authorities to the ambassador of HM the King in Abuja and local media, the Kingdom of Morocco confirms, in the clearest and strongest terms, that there has never been a phone conversation between HM King Mohammed VI and the President of this country”, the ministry pointed out in a statement.
HM the King has actually declined the request of the Nigerian government because it is part of the internal electioneering and this country’s fundamentally hostile positions with regard to the territorial integrity of the Kingdom,” the statement said.
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 ministry added.
Accordingly, the Kingdom of Morocco has decided the immediate recall of the ambassador of HM the King in Abuja for consultation”, the statement concluded.