Morocco diplomat leaves Algeria over ‘enemy’ remarks

A Moroccan diplomat at the center of a spat between Algiers and Rabat has left Algeria at the country’s request, a spokesman for the presidency said. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 11 June 2020

Morocco diplomat leaves Algeria over ‘enemy’ remarks

  • Relations between the North African countries have long been tense, particularly over the Western Sahara

ALGIERS: A Moroccan diplomat at the center of a spat between Algiers and Rabat has left Algeria at the country’s request, a spokesman for the presidency said.

Relations between the North African countries have long been tense, particularly over the Western Sahara, a disputed former Spanish colony on Africa’s Atlantic coast that is mostly under Morocco’s control.

“The consul of Morocco has left the country at Algeria’s request,” spokesman Mohand Oussaid Belaid told a news conference, referring to the consul of Morocco in Algeria’s second city Oran.

Last month, Algeria summoned Morocco’s ambassador after a video on social media showed a man, presented as the consul, calling Algeria an “enemy” country.

The man was addressing Moroccans complaining about being stranded in Algeria due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

Belaid said the consul’s “attitude was not surprising because he is an officer of the Moroccan intelligence services.”

“Morocco expresses its dismay at these allegations” and “rejects these ridiculous and baseless assertions,” Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told the Moroccan news agency MAP.

“The decision to recall the consul was taken solely on Morocco’s initiative,” he said, adding that the country has always been nonconfrontational in its relations with Algeria.

According to Algerian news website TSA, the consul returned home last Thursday on a Royal Air Maroc flight that was repatriating Moroccans stranded in Algeria.

Last month, Algeria’s Foreign Ministry warned that a diplomat calling it an “enemy country” would constitute a serious violation, and urged Rabat to take “appropriate measures” to protect bilateral relations.

But Belaid said the matter was now over and a new chapter had been turned.


Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn ‘helping everyone who stood by him’

Updated 53 min 39 sec ago

Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn ‘helping everyone who stood by him’

  • Ghosn made a dramatic escape from house arrest in Japan, where he was awaiting trial, and fled to Beirut, his childhood home
  • Ghosn has refused to discuss details of his escape from Japan, saying it would put in danger those who helped him

BEIRUT: Former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn is helping everyone who stood by him, he said in an interview broadcast on Saturday, though he declined to comment on cases of people accused of helping him flee to Lebanon from Japan.
Ghosn, the ex-chairman of an automaking alliance of Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. was arrested in Japan in late 2018 on charges of underreporting his salary and using company funds for personal purpose — charges he denies.
In late December, he made a dramatic escape from house arrest in Japan, where he was awaiting trial, and fled to Beirut, his childhood home.
Japan has asked the United States to extradite US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor, who are accused of helping Ghosn flee and were arrested in May.
Asked in an interview with Al Arabiya TV if he was trying to help the Taylors and others involved in his escape, Ghosn said: “You are talking about specific people, and I will not comment on those people who you are singling out.
“What I’m saying is that I am helping everyone who helped me; I’m helping them with my means, with my thinking, and in any way I can,” he said. “I am not talking about those people you mentioned specifically,” he said, adding that he was talking about people who helped him “in general.”
Ghosn has refused to discuss details of his escape from Japan, saying it would put in danger those who helped him.
A US judge said on Friday that Michael and Peter Taylor posed too great of a flight risk to be released on bail given the “spectacular” allegations against them.
Ghosn told Al Arabiya he made “the entire plan” for his escape but he had needed information and assistance from people whom he was not ready to endanger by talking about the matter.
Earlier this month, an executive from a Turkish private jet operator, four pilots and two flight attendants appeared in court on charges of helping to smuggle Ghosn via Istanbul.
Ghosn also said Japan had yet to send his case file to Lebanon as requested by the Lebanese government. “It has been six months and they haven’t sent the file. Why haven’t they sent the file?“