Morocco Calls Assault on Moroccan Diplomat 'Unacceptable', Demands Apologies From Algeria

Rabat - Morocco has demanded an apology from Algeria over the physical assault on a Moroccan diplomat by an Algerian official during a United Nations meeting in the Caribbean. Medical and police reports have confirmed the occurrence of the incident.

“What happened is unacceptable,” the Moroccan Minister of Affairs, Nasser Bourita, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “We demand an apology from Algeria.”

The Kingdom accused Soufiane Mimouni, the General Director of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of physically assaulting the assistant for the Moroccan ambassador to Saint Lucia.

Elected representatives from Western Sahara were among the Moroccan delegation to the commission meeting, something which Algeria, the Polisario Front's biggest ally, protested.

Photos showed the Moroccan diplomat lying on the ground following the assault. He was then taken to hospital.

The French news agency said it received a copy of the medical examination report, which indicated thatthe Moroccan official was indeed hit in the face.

A police report confirmed Morocco’s accusations against the Algerian official, stating that “the assault took place.”

The two reports refute Algeria’s claims that the incident never happened, calling it “staged” and “invented” by the Moroccan delegation.

The spokesperson for the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also claimed that a “young Algerian diplomat” was the victim of “harassment” by members of the Moroccan delegation “who attempted assaulting her.”

Relationships between the two countries have been very strained recently.

In addition to the long-standing conflict of Western Sahara, tension escalated in April when Morocco accused Algeria of expelling Syrian refugees into Moroccan territories.

“Currently our relationship with Algeria is very tense. It is important that this problem is fixed,” said Bourita.

Nonetheless, he insisted that “Algeria must assume the consequences of its actions.”

On Thursday Bourita said "the incident goes against all diplomatic etiquette", adding it reflected "the degree of nervousness of Algerian diplomacy", especially since Morocco's reintegration to the African Union (AU) in late January, 2017.




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