Morocco has recalled its ambassador from Nigeria, accusing President Goodluck Jonathan’s government of trying to use King Mohammed VI in an election campaign.Its foreign ministry issued a statement, denying that the monarch had spoken by phone with President Jonathan, as stated by the Nigerian government.A statement from the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Abuja last Sunday said the information was not correct as Mr. Jonathan did in fact speak to the Moroccan Monarch over the phone.“Since the King was in France, and not in Morocco, both leaders spoke extensively over the phone on matters of mutual interest and concern that have nothing to do with the conduct of the re-schedule elections in Nigeria.“It is therefore preposterous to suggest that Mr. President’s telephone call to the Moroccan Monarch was intended to confer any electoral advantage on the president,” the statement said.However, Morocco’s foreign ministry yesterday responded by saying it wanted to state in the “clearest and strongest terms” that “there has never been a phone conversation” between the two leaders.“The king has actually declined the request of the Nigerian government because it is part of the internal electioneering,” Morocco’s Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) news agency quoted the statement as saying.“The kingdom of Morocco expresses its astonishment and denunciation to these unethical practices that are contrary to the spirit of responsibility that must prevail in relations between states.”“As a consequence Morocco’s Abuja ambassador was being recalled immediately for consultations,” it said.Also, the King’s Office said Tuesday that “Morocco is surprised at the incredible twist given by Nigeria to an alleged phone conversation that never took place between HM King Mohammed VI and the Nigerian President.“The King’s Office categorically denies the false allegations made by Nigerian authorities about an alleged phone conversation between the Sovereign and Nigerian President,” the statement said.When contacted yesterday, the ministry of Foreign Affairs told Daily Trust it was aware the Morocco Ambassador had been recalled.Speaking to our reporter on telephone, the ministry spokesperson Mr. Ode Ogbole said he also read the report of the recall of the ambassador for consultation on the issue online but said the ministry did not have any comment on the issue yet. According to some foreign policy analysts, Morocco’s stand on issues concerning Nigeria can be related to Nigeria’s support of the independence movementof the Saharawi Republic which has been on a loggerhead with Morocco.Some even noted that Morocco’s reaction over the issue of the telephone call may be as a result of Nigeria’s failure to vote in support creation of the Palestine state during the United Nations Security Council voting in support of the state of Palestine.
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