Morocco boycotts Karate championship in Tunisia
Morocco has decided to boycott the North African Karate Championship, scheduled to be held in Tunis September 7 to 11.
The decision to cancel the participation of Moroccan athletes in the championship was announced by the Royal Moroccan Federation of Karate and associated disciplines in a press release, without giving the reasons behind the decision.
The decision comes amid brewing tensions between Morocco and Tunisia over Tunis’s challenge to Moroccan territorial integrity, after President Kais Saied on Friday reserved a presidential welcome to the leader of the Polisario separatist militia, Brahim Ghali, he unilaterally invited to attend the Japan-Africa conference (TICAD) organized in Tunisia.
The presence of Brahim Ghali at this event was the result of a unilateral decision by Tunisia which invited him as “president” of the so-called “RASD” in violation of the rules and against the will of Japan which does not recognize the separatist entity.
Japan had actually warned against such a move in a memo sent to the AU indicating that only countries it recognizes can attend the TICAD.
The Polisario leader’s invite was “unilaterally” orchestrated by Tunisia in defiance of clear protocols set by Japan and agreed to by both the AU and the Tunisian government.
Morocco protested the unilateral invitation by Tunisia to the Polisario, recalled its ambassador to Tunis and decided not to attend TICAD.
Tunisia’s approach breaks with years of a policy of balancing neutrality between Morocco and Algeria, the main parties to the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
The cancellation of Moroccan athletes’ participation in the karate championship is thus another manifestation of the deterioration of relations between Morocco and Tunisia, which have so far maintained exemplary relations.