Morocco to receive new German ambassador as relations improve

Morocco to receive new German ambassador as relations improve
2 min read
13 January, 2022
Morocco is to receive a new German ambassador in a sign of warming ties following months of dispute over the Western Sahara issue.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in 2019 [Getty Images]

Morocco is set to approve of Germany’s appointment of Thomas Peter Zahnseisen as its new ambassador to Rabat, signaling that the two countries are returning to normal diplomatic ties after a period of frosty relations.

The North African country is expected to give its green light to Ambassador Zahneisen’s appointment by the end of this week, according to Moroccan news outlet Le360.

Zahneisen, who is expected to arrive in Rabat in the next few days to commence his diplomatic duties, could be part of a list of newly appointed foreign ambassadors who have been scheduled to submit their credentials to King Mohammed VI, Le360 added.

Meanwhile, Morocco’s ambassador to Germany Zhour Alaoui will soon make her return to Berlin.

This follows Berlin expressing support for Rabat’s autonomy plan for the disputed Western Sahara region, which the German foreign ministry described as an "important contribution" to finding a political solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

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Morocco previously recalled its ambassador to Germany in May 2021 in protest over what it described as Berlin’s “antagonistic activism” after the United States recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region in December 2020.

Moroccan troops occupied the region in 1975 after Spanish colonial forces left. The pro-independence Polisario Front has fought against the Moroccan presence in Western Sahara since then.

In March of the same year, Morocco halted all contact and cooperation with the Germany embassy and German political organisations over “fundamental disagreements” on Western Sahara, among other issues.

However earlier this month, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier extended an invitation to King Mohammed to visit the country.

Morocco has recently tried to press European countries and the European Union to follow the United States in recognizing its sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

King Mohammed said in November last year that Morocco would not agree "any economic or commercial step that excludes the Moroccan Sahara".