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Rabat: 'Anyone who accuses Morocco of espionage must provide evidence'

RABAT, MOROCCO - JULY 02: Executive Secretariat of the G5 Sahel, Maman Sambo Sidikou (not seen) and Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita hold a joint press conference in Rabat, Morocco on July 02, 2021. ( Jalal Morchidi - Anadolu Agency )
Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita holds a press conference in Rabat, Morocco on July 02, 2021 [Jalal Morchidi - Anadolu Agency]

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita urged on Friday that those who accuse his country of spying must provide tangible proof, while hinting that Rabat might take legal action.

This came in an interview with the French magazine Jeune Afrique, at a time when Morocco faces accusations of spying on the phones of public personalities using the Israeli Pegasus spyware.

Last Wednesday, The Guardian published the results of an investigation conducted by 17 media organisations, stating that the Pegasus spyware has been used on a global scale.

The investigation claimed that "the governments of at least ten countries are clients of the NSO Israeli company," including Morocco and Algeria.

"Every individual or body that has accused Morocco must present evidence or bear the consequences of its false slander before the judiciary. The role of justice is to verify the accusations according to tangible evidence," Bourita asserted.

READ: Algeria concerned over Morocco's alleged use of Pegasus spyware

He added: "Morocco has succeeded in becoming a reliable ally among its partners, thanks to the globally recognised effectiveness of its security services, especially in the international war against terrorism."

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Moroccan government denied accusations of spying on the phones of public and foreign figures using the Israeli spyware, while the Public Prosecution decided to open a judicial investigation into these allegations and identify the parties behind the rumours.

On Thursday, the Algerian Foreign Ministry announced that its country maintains the right to respond to what it described as a "systematic attack on human rights", by using the Pegasus spyware against some of its officials.

The ministry considered that: "This illegal, unacceptable and dangerous practice undermines the climate of trust that should prevail in exchanges and interactions between officials and countries' representatives."

The Algerian official position was announced in a statement issued on Thursday after the country's Public Prosecution declared launching a probe into information about espionage operations against local figures using the Pegasus spyware.

Pegasus spyware is used to eavesdrop on human rights activists, monitor emails, take photos and record conversations once their phones are hacked.

The Tel Aviv-based NSO, which was established in 2010, employs about 500 individuals.

READ: Morocco sues over Pegasus spyware allegations

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