By Siham Ali
Malian Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra on Friday (July 6th) concluded a two-day visit to Rabat to discuss the Mali crisis, Sahel security and bilateral co-operation.
“I came here to ask Morocco, the king, the government and the people, to use of the faith that the international community has in it to help Mali regain its integrity and sovereignty by all possible means, especially diplomatic channels,” Diarra told reporters after meeting with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelilah Benkirane.
The aim of the visit was to highlight the current situation in Mali to Moroccan officials, he stressed.
“What is happening in Mali affects not only my country, but also the whole of Africa and the sub-region in particular,” Diarra said.
Malian Minister of Communication Hamdoun Toure told Magharebia that both countries shared similar views. He welcomed Morocco’s willingness to help Mali combat terrorism.
Meanwhile, Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said that his country was still playing an active role in handling the instability in Mali. All countries in the region must shoulder responsibility for seeking solutions to the serious problems faced by the country, especially the invasion of its northern region by terrorists, he said. Morocco, which takes a great interest in the Sahel region, is talking to different countries in order to find a solution to the crisis, El Othmani added.
Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, the speaker of the Chamber of Councillors, commented that the talks with Malian officials focused on security threats in the Sahel region. The situation requires all parties to come together to restore security and tackle crime, he added.
All security matters in the Sahel and the Maghreb are of interest to Morocco, Chamber of Representatives Speaker Karim Ghellab agreed.
The country officially welcomed the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on Mali on July 5th. Morocco has urged Sahel and Maghreb countries to co-operate more closely in combating al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and affiliated groups.
Regional security and humanitarian challenges should be tackled by “thwarting the secessionist desires of certain armed movements in the region and the activities of terrorist groups and armed movements in this region, as well as organised crime networks”, Morocco’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Loulichki said on July 5th.
For his part, Toure called for bilateral co-operation not only in security but social and economic domains. “Morocco has decided to double the assistance it gives Mali for education purposes. The number of students who come to Morocco each year will rise from the current level of fifty to one hundred,” he said.