Morocco First African And Arab Country To Join ASEAN Treaty – OpEd


Finally, Morocco has formally adhered to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This accession to the treaty is the positive result of Morocco’s Royal strategic vision aiming at diversifying and reinforcing its partnerships at all levels, the Moroccan Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Nasser Bourita was quoted as saying.

According to Moroccan local media, the Moroccan Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, signed on the sidelines of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits, which is being held in Vientiane, Laos on Sept 6-8, on the instruments of Morocco’s accession to the treaty.

The adherence is the outcome of an official request made by Morocco on April 28, 2014. Therefore, Morocco has become the first African and Arab country to join the Treaty.
Three countries, Morocco, Egypt and Chile have officially joined 32 other countries in signing the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). This is the initial procedure for any country seeking to build stronger relations with Southeast Asia.

Morocco’s minister delegate to the foreign affairs and cooperation minister Nasser Bourita said Morocco’s accession to the TAC reflected the good bilateral relations it had with each of the 10 ASEAN member states.

“We believe the principles in the TAC are in conformity with our foreign policy — peaceful settlement of agreements, noninterferrence of internal affairs and the settlement of disputes through diplomatic ways,” Bourita told The Jakarta Post after the accession ceremony.

He added that the move was in line with Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s plan to diversify the partnerships that Rabat had formed as part of its foreign policy.

“We used to have strong relations with Europe and within the Arab world and that was it. Last year, the King pushed our diplomacy to be open to other spaces,” Bourita said.

Morocco’s accession to the TAC, the first for a North African nation, also strengthened the opinion that ASEAN was considered as one of the “stabilizing factors” in the region, the Moroccan official said.

“Together we are facing the same challenges, […] we have our experiences we can share and learn from our partners [in ASEAN],” he added.

Bourita said further that one of the sectors likely to be pushed for closer collaboration between Morocco and ASEAN was climate change — Morocco is to host the UN Conference of Parties ( COP22 ) on Climate Change in 2017.

Bourita met with Laos’ Foreign Minister, Saleumxay Kommasith, and their talks focused on bilateral and Morocco-ASEAN relations.

Morocco will certainly be a great asset to the ASEAN community thanks to its positive presence in Africa and its strong policy to reinforce south-south cooperation to contribute to the development of the African continent and collaborate with American and European allies to bring peace and stability to this continent.

Committed defender of African integration, Morocco is an regional economic and financial hub, a hotspot for international investment in Africa. But South-South dialogue isn’t enough in itself. African development can only prosper with a triangular co-operation model, North-South-South.

Morocco is strengthening its political, economic and spiritual presence in Africa. This royal vision will certainly contribute efficiently to a stable and prosperous africa that will become more and more economically attractive to foreign investors.

Morocco’ s political influence is growing and so is the trust of the states it is working with. The kingdom keeps defending African’s cause, either directly, thanks to its participation in different operations to maintain peace or either indirectly, supporting, in all of the international summits, sustained efforts for human and social development in the sub-Saharan area.

Morocco has taken an engagement not just on security issues in Africa, but on environmental issues, economic issues, social issues and education issues. Morocco will certainly become a key member in the ASEAN bloc.
The TAC which came into force in 1976, was forged by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aims at promoting regional and international peace and stability between countries within the code of conduct. The TAC’s ultimate goal is to promote peace, everlasting amity and cooperation among the people of Southeast Asia and countries seeking to build strategic relations with ASEAN.

Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a member of Washington Press Club.

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