Iraq’s embassy in Morocco was handed a verbal note by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation after an Iraqi festival screened a documentary on Western Sahara.
The Iraqi embassy in Morocco confirmed on Friday, 19th of October, to Yabiladi that Ambassador Ziyad Khalid Abd Ali has questioned the director of the Slemani International Film Festival (SIFF), held from the 10th to 16th of October in Iraq, about the screening of a documentary on Western Sahara.
A diplomatic source from the Iraqi embassy told Yabiladi that the Bagdad mission in Rabat sent a note to SIFF after «discussing the issue with the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation».
«The Moroccan Foreign Ministry has contacted the Iraqi ambassador to acquire about the screening of a documentary. A meeting was held and a note verbal was handed by Morocco to the Iraqi embassy. The note was transferred to the peoplein charge the festival and we are still waiting for their response».
A source from the Iraqi embassy
The Iraqi ambassador was not summoned
Contacted by Yabiladi, a well-informed source clarified the situation, indicating that «Morocco has not summoned the Iraqi ambassador as reports suggest. Summoning a Foreign diplomat bears a significant meaning that is often related to the dissatisfaction of one of the two parties».
The same source, however, confirmed that Morocco sent a verbal note to the Iraqi embassy which is «a normal procedure».
«Rumors about the screening of the documentary were circulating and the Middle East director at the Ministry phoned the Iraqi ambassador to notify him about the information. Bagdad’s diplomat insisted to meet the director to further explain the situation».
A source close to the file
The same source believes that «what happened is quite normal, especially as Morocco defends the territorial sovereignty of all countries and has never sided with separatist entities».
Meanwhile, Danar Omer, the Slemani International Film Festival artistic director told Kurdi online newspaper Rudaw that Ziyad Khalid Abd Ali contacted him about the screening of the documentary entitled 3 Stolen Cameras.
«He said the movie was banned and asked why we had showcased it», Omer explained, adding : «We said we are unaware of that issue, but it is a documentary film and its showcasing is normal».
The documentary is a «joint Sweden -Western Sahara project», said the same source, conducted by Ibtihaml Alaloul and Ailla Brahim.
«This is a story about breaking an absolute censorship with unique footage from an area where the Moroccan authorities have managed to implement a near total media blockade», said Danar Omer.
For the record, the documentary won the award for best documentary movie at the festival concluded this week.