Fueling criticism that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton may have diplomatic conflicts of interest related to her private foundation, recent emails released by WikiLeaks show she expressed hesitation to attract more publicity to a $12 million Clinton Foundation charity meeting in Morocco—against her closest aides’ advice.
Clinton was “still considering” whether she’d give a keynote address at a Clinton Foundation conference in the southwestern Moroccan city of Marrakesh, Clinton campaign manager Robert Mook wrote in January 2015.
Critics would later point out that, in addition to the State Department’s labeling Morocco’s government at corrupt during Clinton’s tenure as secretary, a government-owned company providing $1 million of the endowment was potentially participating in illegal exploitation of disputed territory in the Sahara Desert.
The Sahrawis, a group residing in the Western Sahara, have been fighting for independence from Moroccan occupation for nearly half a century. The United Nations has called the conflict the “last decolonization process in Africa.” But while Clinton might’ve worried about appearances, Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s top aides, told Mook that the former secretary of state was entirely responsible for the “mess.”
“Just to give you some context, the condition upon which the Moroccans agreed to host the meeting was her participation,” Abedin shot back to Mook. “If hrc was not part if it [sic], meeting was a non-starter.”
Abedin also cited hesitance on the part of the Clinton Global Initiative to hold a meeting in the country, where Clinton once urged King Mohammed VI to take steps to solve its problem of child marriage and to “ provide Moroccan youth with alternatives to criminal and extremist organizations.”
“This was HRC's idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request,” Abedin continued. “It will break a lot of china to back out now when we had so many opportunities to do it in the past few months. She created this mess and she knows it.”