Will Morocco’s Good Offices Help Defuse Gulf Crisis?

King Mohammed VI is on a visit of friendship to the Gulf countries of the UAE and Qatar, which is seen by analysts as a mediation attempt to defuse tension on the backdrop of the rift between a Saudi-led quartet and Doha.

King Mohammed VI who maintains close ties with Gulf monarchs is undertaking a visit at a time of turmoil in the region.
He attended on Wednesday the Louvre Museum opening ceremony in Abu Dhabi, alongside the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed, and Governor of Dubai Mohamad Bin Rashed Al Makhtoum. Also present were French President, Emmanuel Macron, President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, and Bahrain’s Monarch Hamad Bin Issa Al Khalifa, whose country is part of the quartet that is boycotting Qatar.
The King’s upcoming visit to Qatar on November 12 brings to light Moroccan mediation in the dispute between Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE on one side and Qatar on the other side.

The visit to the Gulf by the Monarch is the first since Morocco announced its willingness to offer its mediation in the Gulf crisis when it broke out last June.

Right after the outbreak of the crisis, Morocco’s foreign ministry had issued a statement expressing the Kingdom’s willingness to mediate in the crisis between the GCC member states.

“If the parties wish so, Morocco is ready to offer its good offices conducive to a calm, franc and comprehensive dialog on the basis of non-interference in domestic affairs, the fight against religious extremism, clarity in positions and loyalty in commitments,” the statement had said.
Since the outbreak of the crisis, King Mohammed VI maintained “close and continuous contact with different parties,” the statement had said.

“Given the close personal ties of sincere brotherliness and mutual esteem between HM King Mohammed VI and his brothers Kings and Emirs of the Gulf, Morocco made sure not to indulge in public statements or hasty stands that would only widen the divide and deepen grievances,” the statement added.

In this regards, Morocco’s King called on all parties to show restraint and wisdom in order to defuse tension and overcome the crisis with a view to “finding a lasting settlement to the causes that have led to the current situation in line with the spirit that has always characterized the GCC.”

“Morocco, which remains closely linked to Gulf countries in all fields despite geographic distance, is very concerned with this crisis although it is not directly involved in it,” the statement said, noting that the North African Kingdom has adopted a constructive neutrality “which does not confine it to a passive observation of a disturbing escalation between brotherly countries.”

More than five months into the GCC crisis, several mediation attempts by Kuwait, Turkey and the US failed so far to push for a normalization of relations between Qatar and its neighbors.

 

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