Moroccan authorities were in secret talks with Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh for him to accept an asylum offer in the North African nation bordering Europe.
Morocco’s Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar and a top secret service official arrived in The Gambian capital Banjul on Monday to hold talks with Jammeh, Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reported from neighboring Senegal.
There have been talks of a possible asylum or exile for Jammeh to an African country, in exchange for him stepping down but President Jammeh has rejected all of them including that of Morocco.
Jammeh has also refused to accept an asylum offer from Nigeria.
The wife of Mr. Jammeh, Zineb Souma Jammeh, is a Moroccan. President Yahya Jammeh has homes, assets, and businesses in the North African nation.
Jammeh may have doubts of accepting an asylum offer from Nigeria, not to end up like Charles Taylor and extradited to face charges. Accepting a ‘golden retirement’ in an Arab nation like Morocco, United Arab Emirates or Qatar may be his best option.
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI visited The Gambia in 2006, and the two nations have long held strong ties.
President Yahya Jammeh has until midnight on Wednesday to make a quite exit.
A spokesman for The Gambia’s opposition leader Barrow, who is currently in Senegal, has vowed that the president-elect’s inauguration will go ahead as planned on January 19.