Morocco recalls its ambassador to Berlin over Western Sahara


RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco recalled its ambassador to Berlin for consultations on Thursday in protest at what it described as Germany's "destructive attitude" towards Rabat's position on the Western Sahara issue.

It accused Germany of engaging in "antagonistic activism" after the United States in December recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, which is also claimed as an independent state by the Algeria-backed Polisario Front movement.

Washington's decision, part of a deal that also involved increasing diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel, prompted Germany to call a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the issue.

In March, Morocco ordered all governmental departments and bodies to abstain from any cooperation and contacts with the German Embassy and German political organisations.

Morocco also said on Thursday that Germany had disclosed sensitive information provided by Moroccan security services to a convicted jihadist, without elaborating.

In a statement, it also repeated a previous complaint that Germany had not invited it to a 2020 Berlin conference on Libya. Morocco has over the past year played a role in Libyan diplomatic negotiations by hosting talks between members of the rival parliament groups.

The German Foreign Ministry said it was not informed in advance about the ambassador's recall, adding it could not understand the accusations in the communique from the Moroccan ministry and had asked for an explanation.

"We are all the more surprised by this measure because we are making constructive efforts with the Moroccan side to resolve the crisis," said a ministry official.

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers; Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Frances Kerry)

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