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Morocco-Saudi Arabia : Will King Salman be holidaying in Tangier this summer ?

Unlike previous years, King Salman might not be holidaying in Morocco. The decision comes as the Moroccan Saudi diplomatic relations are deteriorating.

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King Mohammed and King Salman in his palace in Tangier./Ph. DR

Contrary to their yearly tradition, the Saudi royal family will not be holidaying in Morocco this year, a well informed source told Yabiladi on Tuesday.

«There are no preparations for this year’s visit», said the same source, referring to King Salman’s palace in Tangier. «He might not be holidaying in Morocco this summer», the source told Yabiladi.

For years, the Saudi King has been visiting northern Morocco to spend his summer vacation. Last year, he arrived in Tangier in July and was even greeted by Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani in the city’s airport.

Moroccan Saudi relations

Reports on King Salman’s visit come as relations between the two Kingdoms have been through thick and thin lately. In June, Moroccan Minister of Culture and Communication Mohamed Laaraj announced that he was not attending a meeting of the Coalition Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen hosted in Jeddag, Saudi Arabia.

The ministry justified the decision, arguing that Mohamed Laaraj had a busy schedule. However, the step was interpreted differently by some sources, which stated that Morocco was simply replying to the 2026 FIFA held earlier that month.

In fact, Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Arab World preferred to vote for the North American bid led by the United States to host the 2026 World Cup, instead of supporting Morocco which was also competing to organize the international football tournament.

Following the vote, Moroccans took their anger and disappointment to social media, accusing Saudi Arabia of taking the American side and «betraying» the Kingdom during its fifth attempt to win a FIFA vote.

Lately, Saudi internet users responded to the Moroccan critics with a viral boycott campaign. Using the hashtag «boycotting Morocco is a duty», Saudis called their compatriots to not visit Morocco this summer.

The Gulf crisis

The crisis between Saudi Arabia and Morocco erupted, however, one year ago, when the Kingdom decided to back Qatar. In June, 2017, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain broke off relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.

At the time, Morocco decided not to take sides maintaining diplomatic relations with Doha. The Kingdom has even volunteered to send food supplies to Qatar amid its crisis with Gulf countries.

According to an article published by Al Jazeera, a Doha-based state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, Morocco which is considered to be «a close ally of the Gulf countries» has decided to remain neutral regarding the gulf countries' boycott.

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