The King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, will not attend the Arab League summit in Algeria on 1 and 2 November. This has been confirmed by the Secretary General of the pan-Arab organisation, reports Jeune Afrique. Instead, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita will represent the kingdom at the summit.
In mid-month, Algerian diplomatic sources confirmed to Jeune Afrique that Mohammed VI would attend the summit, but in the end the monarch opted not to participate. According to the newspaper, the king had planned to travel to Algiers with his son, Crown Prince Mulay Hassan.
Jeune Afrique lists a number of reasons why Mohammed VI has finally decided not to attend the summit. Firstly, it mentions the diplomatic treatment of the Moroccan delegation by the Algerian authorities. "The Algerian authorities have reserved little diplomatic treatment for Nasser Bourita and his delegation, which would not allow the king to have a serene and peaceful stay", it explains.
Other media agree on this point. Al-Arab, for example, speaks of "harassment" by the Algerian authorities against the Moroccan delegation. In this sense, Bourita pointed out that "manipulating the rules and not respecting the norms and protocols would lead to the failure" of the summit that will begin tomorrow. On the other hand, the meeting could be successful "if differences are overcome, unnecessary provocations are avoided and if the host country acts according to the rules", he stressed.
The Arabic daily notes that such behaviour on the part of Algiers confirms suspicions of a lack of neutrality on the part of Abdelmadjid Tebboune's government in organising the pan-Arab summit.
Diplomatic sources quoted by Moroccan media report that Bourita asked to address Iran's influence through the Polisario Front, as well as its actions against Gulf countries, at the meeting. However, Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra refused, even though there was strong support for the Moroccan request. The kingdom's diplomatic sources also speak of "violent and offensive" behaviour on the part of their Algerian counterparts. They even denounce "lack of respect for the Moroccan map" during one of the preparatory meetings for the summit.
Bourita had recently told Jeune Afrique that Mohamed VI was "observing and following the course of events". "He will decide when the time comes whether the conditions are right for his participation", he added.
Attacks on Morocco in the Algerian press also played a role in the royal decision, as did the absence of numerous heads of state close to Rabat. Several Arab leaders have already announced that they will not attend the summit, including Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Jordan's King Abdullah II.
Bourita, for his part, has already arrived in Algiers. He has not yet met with his Algerian counterpart, Lamamra. In August 2021, Algeria decided to break off diplomatic relations with Morocco after several months of tensions. Despite this, the head of Moroccan diplomacy has assured that Rabat will "actively participate" in the work of the summit.