RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco has not made a formal request to join the BRICS grouping and will not attend its summit in South Africa, state news agency MAP said on Saturday.
Citing an unnamed diplomatic source, MAP denied a statement by South Africa’s foreign minister Anil Sooklal who said earlier this month Morocco was among the nations seeking to join the bloc.
“South Africa allowed itself to speak about Morocco’s ties with the BRICS without prior consultation,” it said.
The group of major emerging economies is now made of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, but its potential expansion will be discussed at the summit and South Africa has said more than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining.
South Africa’s diplomatic support for the Algeria-backed Polisario front, which seeks to establish an independent state in Western Sahara, a territory Morocco considers as its own, has strained relations between the two countries.
Morocco would not attend the BRICS meeting in South Africa, MAP said, adding: “South Africa has in fact always shown a primary hostility towards Morocco and has systematically taken negative and dogmatic positions on the Moroccan Sahara issue.”
Morocco is attached to a non-divisive multilateralism and has good ties with the rest of BRICS member states, it said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)