For the first time in 15 years, Pretoria accepts the appointment of an ambassador from Morocco

South Africa has, finally, accepted the appointment of a full ambassador from Morocco. The information was confirmed by a Moroccan diplomatic source, announcing the end of a 15-year-old diplomatic rupture.

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Youssef Amrani, Morocco's new ambassador to South Africa./Ph. DR

It took South Africa seven months to finally consider Morocco’s request to strengthen diplomatic relations. On Wednesday, reports emerged, suggesting that Pretoria had approved a Moroccan ambassador to South Africa.

«The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation received this week a letter from South Africa», a diplomatic source told Yabiladi on the same day, adding that the country «had finally accepted former deputy former foreign Minister Youssef Amrani as Morocco’s ambassador to Pretoria».

The decision was taken after, King Mohammed VI named Amrani, on August the 20th, 2018, as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the country. The official waited for seven months to be approved by Pretoria.

An agreement issued in 2004

In fact, the country has set a condition for the return of a Moroccan ambassador to Pretoria. This was voiced in November, 2018, by Mxolisi Sizo Nkosi, a senior official at the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking to reporters, the South African official referred to an agreement drafted in 2004 to hinder the normalization of diplomatic ties between Rabat and Pretoria, as discussed by King Mohammed VI and the former South African President Jacob Zuma.

«The ball is in Morocco’s court if the kingdom wants to return an ambassador to Pretoria», Nkosi said, adding that the Moroccan government has ignored for years the request submitted for the appointment of an ambassador in Rabat.

«The starting point for any normalization of relations between Rabat and Pretoria would have to be Morocco replying to the 14-year-old South African request», Mxolisi Sizo Nkosi explained.

South Africa’s request of agreement was presented on the same year when the country decided to recognize the «Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic». The decision, at the time, irritated Morocco which relied on a Chargé d’Affaires to represent Rabat in South Africa.

Despite this crisis, King Mohammed VI and the former South African President Jacob Zuma met on November the 29th, 2017, in Abidjan on the sidelines of the European Union-African Union Summit, was the first of its kind. A year after these talks took place, diplomatic relations between the two countries took a different, yet favorable turn.

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