A diplomatic conflict continued Wednesday after Moroccan officials demanded that Norwegian diplomats involved in the flight of two Norwegian-Moroccan children be punished.
A statement from the Moroccan foreign ministry claimed that Norwegian diplomats “had committed serious offenses that cannot go unpunished.”
Norwegian foreign ministry officials have claimed that the children, caught in a bitter custody battle between their Norwegian mother and Moroccan father, were only sheltered in the Norwegian Embassy in Rabat when they arrived there themselves, and then were turned over to a representative of their mother.
The Moroccans claim Norwegian diplomats mounted “their own form of justice” and assisted in efforts to get the children out of Morocco and back to Norway, which their father equates to kidnapping.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Morocco’s foreign minister contends punishment of those involved is “the only solution Moroccan authorities can accept.”
Norwegian foreign ministry officials said they would investigate reports that a Norwegian diplomat aided the children’s flight. Norway’s diplomats in Morocco, they note, are also entitled to diplomatic immunity and wouldn’t be turned over for questioning by Moroccan authorities.
The father, former Olympic gold medalist Khalid Skah, has accused Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of “lying” and claims the entire operation “was planned by Støre and his people.”
Opposition politicians in Norway urged a thorough investigation, with one member of the Conservatives telling Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday that the Moroccan reaction “understandable.”