By Jamal Laoudi
By Jamal Laoudi
Morocco World News
Washington, march 28, 2013
While many Arab leaders are reluctant to leave their countries even on official visits as a result of dealing with the Arab Spring and its aftermath, the King of Morocco Mohamed VI accompanied by high level official delegation, has embarked, in mid March, on an official trip to three African countries, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Gabon. During this trip, the monarch met with the heads of states and other high level officials of these respective countries. Talks held included discussing ways to improve various bilateral relations, addressing ongoing security issues that affect the region, and solidifying support for Morocco’s initiative of large autonomy in the Sahara.
King Mohamed VI kicked off his trip by heading for in Senegal on March 15th. Upon his arrival, Senegalese President Macky Sall hosted a dinner in his honor attended by Senegalese high level officials and dignitaries in addition to the Moroccan official delegation. President Macky Sall “underlined that the Moroccan-Senegalese ties are not only long-standing, they are exceptional” reported Agence Marocaine de Presse (MAP).
Royal activities in Senegal included the inauguration of the Mohammed VI ophthalmological clinic in Cambérène in the outskirts of Dakar. During this event, the King was accompanied by President Macky Sall. The inaugurated clinic was built and equipped by Alaouite Foundation for human and sustainable development under a directive from the King himself. In addition, the monarch hosted many influential Senegalese dignitaries and religious leader to solidify multi-level cooperation between Morocco and Senegal.
Senegalese president, Macky Sall, did not miss the occasion of this visit to renew and emphasis the “firm and constant support of his country to the Sahara as Moroccan territory” and applauded Morocco’s initiative in the Sahara as “the appropriate solution for a final settlement of this conflict” reported MAP.
After Senegal, King Mohamed VI arrived in Ivory Coast, and met with its president, Alassane Dramane Ouattara. Discussions between the two leaders and their delegations included discussing way to improve bilateral relations between Morocco and Ivory Coast.
On the economic front, the two leaders chaired the signing ceremony of six bilateral cooperation agreements. These agreements include a Memorandum of Understanding which provides for promoting cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries, an agreement of cooperation on the promotion and protection of investments, and a bilateral cooperation agreement in fisheries and aquaculture. Other agreements include vocational training in the field of tourism, air transport, and Moroccan-Ivorian disaster management.
The king also hosted various religious leaders in Ivory Coast in order to promote interfaith understanding and dialogue.
On this occasion, Charles Koffi Diby, Ivorian State Foreign Minister “called for the return of Morocco to the African Union (AU), which he left after the admission of the Fictitious entity “SADR” and said in a statement that “Morocco should regain its place within the African Union” especially it is a founding party of this body.”
On the Sahara question, President Alassane Ouattara reiterated his full support for Moroccan initiative to grant large autonomy to the Moroccan Sahara. A joint statement by the two countries’ foreign ministers called Morocco’s proposal “an appropriate solution to definitively settle the conflict.” The head of the Ivorian diplomacy added that this solution is the “right solution” as a final outcome to his conflict.
After Ivory Coast, the Moroccan King landed in Libreville on Monday March 25th, the last leg of his African tour. On March 26th, Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba hosted a dinner in his honor at the presidential palace. In a statement during this dinner, the monarch stated that “There is no doubt in my mind that my visit to Gabon, coupled with the decisions we shall make and the actions we shall agree on, will be another milestone in the broad, meaningful, promising relationship between our two nations.”
The sovereign stressed that the purpose of his visit is to “continue to deepen and expand the scope of our solidarity-based and mutually beneficial partnership. By continuing to rely on our own assets, we will fulfill the legitimate aspirations of our peoples, who share a deep commitment to inter-African cooperation.”
In his statement, Gabonese president Ondimba praised the Moroccan-Gabonaise bilateral relations and stated that “Conditions gathered by Gabon to clear and secure the business environment, coupled with the creation of the Moroccan-Gabonese business council, will, no doubt, help to carry out the agreement projects and contribute, therefore, to grant to the Kingdom of Morocco the place it deserves in our country.”
He also highlighted Morocco’s efforts in promoting African economies mentioning “Morocco’s cancellation of debts owed by least advanced African countries and the training of African executives.”
The two leaders also presided over the signing ceremony of six cooperation agreements in different fields. Agreements signed included the field of health, civil protection, disaster management, a protocol for cooperation in the technical field, and communications.
On the Sahara question president Bongo reiterated “Gabon’s unwavering support to the Moroccan initiative to give the Sahara region a large autonomy within the Kingdom of Morocco’s territorial integrity and national union”. MAP reported.
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