Diplomatic protest from Morocco

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Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi-Fihri called in Norwegian journalists for a meeting in Rabat, to repeat his government’s charges that Norwegian officials acted illegally when they got involved in a custody battle over the children of former Moroccan Olympic gold medalist Khalid Skah and his former Norwegian wife, Anne Cecilie Hopstock.

She arranged to smuggle the children out of Morocco last summer, but it was only recently revealed that her operation included assistance from two officers in Norwegian special forces.

Skah and the foreign minister claim the children were kidnapped, and that Norwegian diplomats aided the illegal act. Fassi-Fihri is upset that the Norwegians “seem to have washed their hands of all responsibility, in violation of normal diplomacy.”

The Moroccan foreign minister also claimed it didn’t matter whether the two Norwegian officers were allegedly on holiday: “They still participated as Norwegian soldiers.”

Morocco’s ambassador to Norway told newspaper VG that an embassy official also violated Moroccan law by using an embassy car to transport the children, if he knew they were going to be spirited out of the country.

Fassi-Fihri also worries that his Norwegian counterparts won’t follow up on the Moroccan concerns, but Foreign Ministry officials in Oslo say they will continue to investigate the roles played by all Norwegians involved.

The Norwegian military is also questioning the soldiers and beefed up rules preventing military personnel from taking part in “freelance” jobs.

Skah, meanwhile, has now implied that he will use “Norwegian methods” to get his children back to Morocco.

The children, who have dual Moroccan and Norwegian nationality, have denied they were kidnapped and it’s earlier been reported that they ran away and sought refuge at the Norwegian embassy.

The entire affair has led to calls for an international court to handle such difficult child custody cases, which are becoming more common and more complicated.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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