RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco's Justice Ministry announced Wednesday the suspension of all judicial cooperation accords with France in a deepening spat between the two close allies.
The statement said the accords had been suspended because of the appearance of "numerous dysfunctions and gaps in these conventions," following the attempt to arrest a Moroccan official visiting Paris.
On Friday, French police showed up at the Moroccan ambassador's residence in Paris to serve a summons for the visiting chief of Morocco's intelligence in response to a suit filed by an activist group accusing him of torture.
Morocco summoned France's ambassador to protest the incident.
The Moroccan Communications Ministry then seized on remarks made in Paris by Spanish actor Javier Bardem on Feb. 18 in which he quoted France's ambassador to the U.S. allegedly calling the North African country in 2011 a mistress one slept with but didn't really love.
France has vehemently denied the comments and it subsequently came out that Bardem actually met with France's ambassador to the U.N. at the time.
In an online briefing Wednesday, before the latest move, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said the issue was being resolved with high level contacts.
"Following the exchanges between the president of the republic and the king of Morocco on Monday, (Foreign Minister) Laurent Fabius and his Moroccan counterpart spoke yesterday to dispel any misunderstandings," he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, hundreds of young Moroccans demonstrated in front of the French Embassy.
The statement by the Moroccan Justice Ministry also said that the liaison judge accredited to France would be recalled after three days of attempting in vain to get clarification over the move to arrest Morocco's intelligence chief.
The attempt was "a serious attack on the basic rules of cooperation between the two countries," the statement said.