Morocco's envoy to Egypt on 'vacation': Diplomat

CAIRO (AA) – Morocco's deputy ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Eissa said Tuesday that ambassador Mohamed Saad el-Alami has left Cairo for "vacation", denying that his departure was "politically-motivated".

"The [Moroccan] ambassador [to Cairo] has applied for the leave before the recent [diplomatic] row [between Cairo and Rabat]," Eissa said.

"The visit was scheduled even before the row and the ambassador was waiting for his vacation to be approved by the Moroccan authorities," he said.

Eissa said that the ambassador has been vacating in Morocco since Saturday on the occasion of the birthday of Islam's prophet Muhammad.

"His departure has no political or diplomatic angles," Eissa added.

On Thursday, two Moroccan state television channels described Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi as a "coup leader." The channels also described ousted President Mohamed Morsi as Egypt's "legitimate president."

It was the first time for Moroccan state media to describe Morsi's ouster by the military in mid-2013 as a "coup."

Diplomats from both countries offered different reasons for the change of Morocco's tone vis-à-vis Egypt's leadership.

Both countries have yet to issue official statements on the matter.

On Monday, Moroccan media outlets said that el-Alami returned from Cairo to Rabat amid signs of a diplomatic rift between the two countries.

El-Alami, for his part, said that he is on a "normal" visit to Rabat and refuted claims by Moroccan media that he was called back over statements he made to an Egyptian newspaper, according to Moroccan news website al-Ayam24.

He also denied rumors that an "unknown individual" was behind the broadcast of a report on state TV describing al-Sisi as a "coup leader."

A source with Morocco's Foreign Ministry earlier told The Anadolu Agency that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will visit Rabat on Jan. 18 to "resolve the crisis between the two countries."

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