Posted 22 октября 2021,, 07:04

Published 22 октября 2021,, 07:04

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Russian tourists became hostages of the political crisis between Morocco and Moscow

Russian tourists became hostages of the political crisis between Morocco and Moscow

22 октября 2021, 07:04
Фото: Яндекс.Новости
Relations between Moscow and Rabat suddenly escalated. Russian Ambassador to Morocco Valerian Shuvayev has been recalled to his homeland for consultations. The parties are trying not to pretend about a quarrel, but flights have been canceled and hundreds of our tourists are "stuck" in Moroccan resorts. What happened?

Sergey Kron

Trying to mitigate the situation, the Moroccans said that there was an outbreak of coronavirus in Russia, and it, they say, rose to first place in the world in terms of the number of deaths. Therefore, Rabat suspended direct flights to Moscow. Entry and exit to Morocco for our tourists will be possible only through third countries.

Travel market experts recalled that direct flights to the country were carried out only from Moscow - two flights a week. The number of Russian tourists sunbathing in Morocco, thus, may be in the region of 1 thousand people.

The Russian ambassador flew away, leaving local journalists without comment. The Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouq made it clear that relations between the two countries were tense because of Algeria, Russia's traditional ally.

After the rift in relations between Russia and Morocco became the property of the Arab public, analysts suggested that this erupted crisis may have a direct bearing on Russia's role in the Maghreb today. The Moroccan authorities share these concerns with France, which views the southern Mediterranean coast as its strategic zone of influence, given the country's colonial past.

It is no secret that relations between Russia and Mali are now undergoing significant development, as evidenced by the signing of an agreement by the Bamako government with PMC Wagner to ensure the safety and protection of senior officials in Mali. Morocco, in turn, is suspicious of the expansion of Russian influence along its borders, and also accuses the Kremlin of having sided with Algeria on the Western Sahara issue.

Arab media also reported that the Moroccan authorities are very concerned about Algeria's access to advanced Russian weapons, which upset the balance of power in the region. Algeria received Russian arms at a time when Algerian-Moroccan relations are going through a serious crisis that threatens to escalate into a full-scale war.

Back in 2016, King Mohammed VI of Morocco paid a visit to Moscow in order to change the balance of power in relations between Russia and two warring neighbors - Algeria and Morocco. His Majesty decided to find favor with Vladimir Putin by showing an interest in buying Russian weapons. But the rapprochement of the countries was prevented by the fact that Rabat was never able to receive S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems and diesel-electric submarines.

Algeria received these weapons, which changed the balance of power in the region, where the situation was further aggravated after the United States, a traditional ally of Morocco, refused to provide military support to Rabat.

These events, according to the leaders of Morocco, will significantly weaken the kingdom's negotiating positions in the upcoming negotiations with the Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of Segiet el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which were initiated by UN Special Envoy Staffan De Mistura.

In general, relations between the two states have historically been difficult. Back in 1963, a border conflict broke out between Algeria and Morocco, which fortunately did not escalate into a full-scale war. But even then the parties were very uncompromising. They signed a peace agreement only in 1972, and Morocco ratified it in general in 1989.

From 1975 to 1991, a war was fought in Western Sahara, and even then the Polisario, which proclaimed the Sahara Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), received significant support from Algeria.

Today Rabat stands for the independence of this region, which is part of Algeria. And the Moroccans are not satisfied with the fact that Algeria supports the unrecognized SADR, which is fighting Rabat in Western Sahara. Russia decided to intervene and, apparently, do away with another hot spot on the planet.

Moscow demanded to postpone the VI session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum at the level of foreign ministers, which was to be held on October 28 in Rabat. Last week, the League of Arab States received from the Russian capital not very clear reasons for canceling the forum: the timing of its holding "does not correspond to the agenda of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov."

Meanwhile, the Federal Air Transport Agency, Rostourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation made a decision to export Russian citizens from Morocco, a detailed export scheme is being worked out. This was stated by the official representative of the Russian Maria Zakharova.