Moroccan FM slams Dutch counterpart for ‘interference’

Moroccan FM slams Dutch counterpart for ‘interference’

RABAT (Rahnuma) Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said Tuesday that the Netherlands should not interfere in Morocco’s affairs, going on to describe a raft of court verdicts handed down against detained demonstrators as an “internal issue”.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Block recently addressed the Dutch parliament about ongoing popular demonstrations in Morocco’s Al-Rif region.

Speaking to MPs, Block warned Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent against traveling to Morocco after a Casablanca court last week slapped 50 protest leaders with jail sentences of varying severity.

Speaking to the local press Tuesday, Bourita slammed the Dutch FM’s comments, saying: “Rabat has already summoned the Dutch ambassador over the remarks.”

“During the Dutch foreign minister’s previous visit to Morocco [last April], I said at a press conference that the protests were a strictly internal issue,” he said.

“So we were surprised by his latest statements,” he added.

“As we respect the decisions of the Dutch courts, they too must respect decisions made by the Moroccan judiciary,” Bourita said.

The number of Moroccans currently living in the Netherlands is estimated at some 400,000, most of whom hail from the Al-Rif region.

Since late 2016, the northern Al-Rif region has seen sporadic protests to demand regional development and an end to perceived government corruption.

Late last year, Moroccan King Mohammed VI sacked four government ministers for “failing” to implement a viable development plan for the region.

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