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Morocco demands apology from Algeria

Morocco demands apology from Algeria

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Morocco is demanding an apology from Algeria for the assault on Moroccan diplomat Mohammed Ali El Khamlichi by Algerian diplomat Soufiane Mimouni.

Mimouni struck Ali El Khamlichi on the jaw with his fist last Thursday, May 19, during a United Nations (UN) Special Committee on Decolonization conference, which was being held at the National Insurance Services (NIS) conference room in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Although the assault was outlined in a report from Commissioner of Police Renold Hadaway to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, an online report says that Algeria has denied the incident, claiming it never happened, and accuses the Moroccan delegation of “staging” it.

SEARCHLIGHT was unable to obtain a copy of the report, but according to the online publication, Morocco World News, the COP’s report states that Ali El Khamlichi, the deputy chief of mission for the Moroccan Embassy in Saint Lucia, was the victim of the assault which was confirmed by a medical report from the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).

Morocco World News notes that a copy of the report indicates that the physical attack took place around 11 a.m., during an intermission at the UN seminar. It claims that Mimouni, the general director of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approached the Moroccan ambassador and the ambassador of Dominica, who were engaged in conversation.

“Mr. Mimouni became aggressive and began to accost the Moroccan ambassador. As a result, El Khamlichi intervened and told Mr. Mimouni to desist from assaulting the ambassador,” said the Morocco World News in a May 21 news story.

It went on, “at this point, the Algerian ambassador turned more violent. He struck the Moroccan Deputy Chief of Missions on his face with his hand, resulting in an injury. Following the assault, the Moroccan Diplomat was taken to Milton Cato Memorial Hospital”.

Ali El Khamlichi was taken to the emergency room at the MCMH, “with blunt trauma to the face, reportedly inflicted by a known assailant. During his examination, El Khamlichi complained of headache, pain to the mouth as well as chest wall tenderness. He left the hospital in no acute distress”.

In response, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, described the attack as “unprecedented” and “going against all diplomatic etiquette.” The Morocco World News said that Bourita stressed that the physical assault on a Moroccan diplomat by the third-ranking official of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows “the degree of nervousness of Algerian diplomacy” and demanded an apology from Algeria, insisting that “it must assume the consequences of its actions.”

Locally, the Government has not made an official comment about the incident.

A Wikipedia report states that the nation of the former colony of Western Sahara territory has caused a deep-seated antagonism and general mistrust between the two nations that has permeated all aspects of Moroccan-Algerian relations. After Spain announced its intention to abandon the territory in 1975, relations between Morocco and Algeria, which had previously presented a united front, disintegrated.

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