The King’s advisor, Yassir Znagui, has firmly denied that the sovereign held the banner or allowed anyone to take the picture that is creating buzz on internet.
“We are surprised by this image, because it is an image and not a picture. It’s a grotesque montage!” Yassir Zenagui told the news portal le360.
“I was next to His Majesty during all his public appearances during this trip (to Qatar), and at no time did he hold the banner or take a picture with the banner,” said the Royal advisor, insisting that it is a “grotesque montage”.
Qatar has also reacted to the incident officially and deplored the photomontage as unfortunate. The Qatari government’s chief communications officer Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed Bin Saif Al Thani said an investigation has been open to identify the authors of the photoshopping and determine “the party who has tried to mislead public opinion and to undermine the symbols of the States”.
“This unacceptable act denotes an attempt to mar Mohammed VI’s visit to Qatar” Sheikh Saif Bin Ahmed pointed out, adding that the royal visit had been “a success in all respects and that it had contributed to deepening the brotherly relations between the two countries”.
The circulation of the photoshopped picture is underpinned by malicious designs, tending to undermine the excellence of Morocco’s relations with Gulf countries, he said.
This is not the first time that a picture of the King is photoshopped and disseminated on social networks for unknown reasons or for unavowed intentions, but often, the montage is easily perceptible.
If the picture supposedly taken in Qatar is a “grotesque montage”, it is also grotesque to think that the Moroccan Monarch is siding with one or the other party involved in the Gulf crisis.
Since the outbreak of the crisis last June, Morocco and its King have been closely following the development of events between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and King Mohammed VI maintained close and continuous contact with different parties.
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.
“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 had pointed out.
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.”
And it is prompted by these feelings of brotherliness and in keeping with his country’s constructive neutrality that King Mohammed VI started a Gulf tour on November 7, his first since the Gulf crisis erupted. He already paid a friendship and working visit to the UAE at the invitation of Sheikh Mohammed Ben Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and is currently on an official visit to Qatar.
There is no way for King Mohammed VI who has so brotherly ties with all Gulf leaders to adopt a biased stand, especially that many analysts have pointed out that his current Gulf tour bears the potential of a mediation that would hopefully defuse this unprecedented tension in the Gulf region.