The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar said yesterday that his country had not received an invitation to participate in the conference hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss confronting the Islamic State (IS).
“Morocco has not received any invitation to participate in the Jeddah conference discussing ways to deal with IS, and we do not know whether the conference includes only countries in the region or other countries,” Mezouar said in a statement to the Anadolu news agency.
Mezouar said Morocco would determine later whether or not it will participate in future conferences discussing the threat of IS.
The Jeddah conference started yesterday with the participation of the US and 11 other countries including Arab Gulf states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar – Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon to discuss “the issue of terrorism in the region, extremist organisations that stand behind it and ways to combat it. “
The Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad revealed last July, at the Assembly of Representatives of Morocco, that “more than 1,122 Moroccans are fighting in Syria and Iraq, and the number rises to between 1,500 and 2,000 Moroccans when taking into account the Moroccans who are enrolled in the region from Europe.”
“Out of 1,122 Moroccan fighting there, more than 200 died, 128 returned to Morocco and were arrested and questioned,” Hassad said.
“A significant number of fighters occupy leadership positions and they do not hide their intention to target Morocco, which is a matter of concern,” he added.