Diplomatic Tensions Between Morocco and Norway

Khalid Skah holding his children’s picture

Rabat – Moroccan authorities are asking Norway to punish the Norwegian diplomats who were involved in the” kidnapping” of Skah’s children. The story began last summer when Selma, born in 1993, and Tarik, born in 1996 were smuggled out of Morocco. The two children of Khalid Skah, the Moroccan athlete who won the 10000m at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and his Norwegian ex-wife Cecile Hobscot travelled with their parents to Morocco in 2006. One year later their mother left Morocco after a broken relationship with Skah. In the night of July 18 to 19, a Norwegian diplomat took the two children and gave them to some people who were designated by their mother and helped them exit Morocco “illegally”. The Norwegian ambassador received the children for residence till they left Moroccan territory.

“A diplomat has led the children over a short distance to deliver them to a trustworthy person designated by their mother, to whom the Norwegian court has granted custody,” declared the spokeswoman of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ragnhild Imerslund Monday. “Children’s lives were threatened. We could not just release them in nature,” she said.  “We have played no role in the escape of children. It was a private action organized by the children’s mother, despite our advice. We wanted on our side to find a diplomatic and political solution,” she added. Morocco accused the Norwegian embassy of using secret agents to kidnap the children, which Ragnhild Imerslund denied and said that no conspiracy was involved to smuggle them.

The problem turns to be not only family conflicts, but seems to create diplomatic tensions between the two countries; especially that Moroccan Foreign minister Taib Fasi Fihri accused Norwegian diplomats’ action to be against the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

After the spokeswoman of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the involvement of her countries’ diplomats in the “illegal” operation of the Olympics Champion’s children, it is predictable that the parliament will ask the ministers of foreign affairs and defence for an explanation of what happened.

Apparently, being a North African country, as Norwegian press keeps calling Morocco while dealing with the issue, is a land where diplomats who claim their countries to be the model of human rights obviously break the universal rules and regulations. This Moroccan-Norwegian problematic issue raises big questions about the African European relationships. What would be the case if the Moroccan ambassador in Norway is the one who helped in the kidnapping of the two children to leave Norway to Morocco?

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  1. Rabii

    In answer to the last question, I would say, it would be a scandal at the international level. Morocco should tighten the belt a bit about and should not be that very tolerant with foreigners. At the same time Morocco appears to be very severe in internal matters. We’d like to see some consistency. Either being severe or being tolerant. There is no way out.

  2. Nadim

    I dont see the problem.
    The children escaped on their own, seeking out the the embassy of Norway- as they are Norwegian citizens.
    From before the Norwegian court have granted custody to the mother.

    If international laws were to be followed from day one, then Khalid Skah would already be in prison for kidnapping. It seems ludicrous that he himself are complaining about kidnapping. It just comes to show how the ego is bigger than the man.

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