RABAT Dec 22 Morocco's government said on
Thursday it was working to identify the authors of social media
posts praising the assassination of the Russian ambassador to
Turkey this week.
Ambassador Andrei Karlov was gunned down by an assassin
while giving a speech in an art gallery in Ankara on Monday.
Morocco has been trying to develop ties with Moscow as it
seeks new business partners and builds support on the United
Nations Security Council for its proposal to offer the disputed
Western Sahara region autonomy under its sovereignty.
"An investigation has been opened by authorities under the
prosecutor's supervision to identify the people involved, and
legal sanctions will follow," the interior and justice
ministries said in a joint statement.
The North African kingdom has been tracking militants since
Islamic State seized whole regions of Syria and Iraq in 2014-15.
Morocco sees itself as a partner to the West in the war on
Islamic militancy, although hundreds of fighters from Morocco
and elsewhere in North Africa have joined militant forces in
Syria's civil war.
Officially, Morocco is aligned with the Gulf Cooperation
Council in its stance on the Syrian war but it has commented
less on the conflict since the king visited Moscow earlier this
year. The Gulf nations mostly back the rebel forces in Syria,
while Russia has supported President Bashar al-Assad.
But Morocco is divided internally over the Syrian conflict.
Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane this month accused Russia of
destroying Syria, only for the foreign ministry to reject the
comments saying it respected Russia's role in international
(Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Patrick Markey and