Time For Morocco To Rejoin The African Union – OpEd


32 years after quitting the African bloc in protest at AU decision to accept Polisario as a member, Morocco expressed its powerful wish to rejoin the African organization.

“For a long time our friends have been asking us to return to them, so that Morocco can take up its natural place within its institutional family. The moment has now come,” the monarch said in a message sent to an AU summit taking place in Kigali, the MAP Moroccan news agency reported.

Morocco quit the AU in protest in 1984 when the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was admitted as a member.

But although Morocco left the club, “it never quit Africa”, King Mohammed said in his message to AU leaders as they began a two-day meeting in the Rwandan capital.

“Through this historic act and return, Morocco wants to work within the AU to transcend divisions,” he added.

In his address to the African Union, King Mohammed urged the bloc to reconsider its position on the “phantom state” of Western Sahara, saying that a political solution was being worked on under the auspices of the UN.

“The recognition of a pseudo state is hard for the Moroccan people to accept,” he said.

The SADR is not a member of the UN or the Arab League, the king went on to note, adding that “at least 34 countries” do not recognise it.

“On the Sahara issue, institutional Africa can no longer bear the burden of a historical error and a cumbersome legacy,” the monarch said

In this Royal message sent to an AU summit in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Sunday, King Mohammed VI said it was time for Morocco to retake its place.,

“It is with no small measure of emotion that I am addressing our great, lofty African family today.

I am doing so as the grandson of His Majesty King Mohammed V, who was one of the emblematic figures of the development of Pan-African consciousness as well as one of the most committed architects of the historic 1961 Casablanca Conference – alongside Presidents Jamal Abdel Nasser, Ferhat Abbes, Modibo Keita, Sekou Toure and Kwame N’Kruma – a conference which heralded the advent of an emancipated Africa and which paved the way for African integration.

I am also addressing you as the son of His Majesty King Hassan II, who, that same year, convened the Conference of Nationalist Organizations of Portuguese Colonies, who patiently contributed to ensuring stability in many regions of our Continent and who strengthened the bonds of brotherhood and friendship with many African countries.

I am also speaking to you as the King of an African country – a country whose identity has been shaped as much by geography as by a common history with several defining milestones and by centuries of human intermingling, enriched by time-honored cultural and spiritual values.

Mine is a country whose commitment to just causes needs no further proof. Indeed, my country has been and always will be guided by an unshakable faith in Africa, in a Continent which derives its strength from its economic riches and potential, which is proud of its cultural and spiritual heritage, and which confidently looks to the future.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,

Even when it was no longer a member of the OAU, Morocco never left Africa.

Morocco is an African nation and it always will be. And all of us, Moroccans, shall remain at the service of Africa. We shall be at the forefront of actions to preserve the dignity of African citizens and ensure respect for our Continent. These were the words of His Majesty King Hassan II, in his Message to the Twentieth OAU Summit on 12 November 1984, announcing Morocco’s withdrawal.

Those words pronounced by His late Majesty proved prophetic, and the conclusion today is obvious: Morocco has kept its promise.

Three decades later, Africa has never been so much at the heart of Morocco’s foreign policy and its international action as it is today.

My country has forged a unique, authentic and tangible South-South cooperation model which has made it possible not only to consolidate cooperation in the traditional areas of training and technical assistance, but also to engage in new, strategic sectors such as food security and infrastructure development.”

Morocco is already the second largest investor in the Continent, added the Sovereign, recalling the important involvement of Moroccan operators and their strong engagement in the areas of banking, insurance, air transport, telecommunications, housing. Morocco is also seeking to develop a strategy for tripartite cooperation channel aid funds made available in the framework of international programs for the financing of infrastructure projects or socio-economic development in African countries and to entrust those projects to Moroccan companies (consultancies, engineering companies, service providers, etc).

Morocco attaches great importance to national education by providing college scholarships to African students. More than 10,000 students pursue their studies each year in universities and schools through scholarships provided by the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI).

Morocco has initiated many African countries to triangular cooperation, rich and varied, based on a true partnership and effective solidarity, in addition to cooperation programs implemented bilaterally. It has many advantages and allows many African countries to benefit from the know-how and expertise already experienced in the land of Africa and to overcome the lack of budgetary resources.

Given the multiple benefits of triangular cooperation, Morocco considers that this type of partnership can be a vehicle for supporting the efforts of developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa and expresses its readiness to invest with donors and regional donors and international collaboration seeking to achieve tripartite programs for countries in SSA.

Export Morocco spares no effort to promote exchanges between Morocco and many African countries, through participation in international fairs and exhibitions, and the organization of business missions, advising businesses, hosting meetings with economic operators, and finally by sponsoring prospective studies of areas and countries.

Morocco will continue to be present in Africa and 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 also relies on its spiritual diplomacy. King Mohammed VI in his capacity as Commander of the Faithful, agreed to official requests made by African countries to benefit from religious training and cooperation.

Morocco has taken an engagement not just on security issues in Africa, but on environmental issues, economic issues, social issues and education issues. Now it’s high time for Morocco to rejoin the African Union.

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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