By Youssef El Kaidi
By Youssef El Kaidi
Morocco World News
Fez, July 8, 2013
Morocco had its own ‘Arab Spring’, political parties should propose practical reform plans instead of repeating old slogans, the term ‘Arab Maghreb’ is exclusionary, and Algeria floods Morocco with smuggled consumer goods and dangerous products.
In an interview with Al-Charq Al-Awsat newspaper, Dr.Saad Eddine Al-Ottomani, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and head of the National Council of the Justice and Development Party, said that Morocco went through its “Arab Spring” its own way and made political reforms under stability and the continuity of its constitutional policy.
Dr. Al-Ottomani stressed that the king’s pre-emptive measures and proposal of a “bold” constitution calmed down the angry masses and opened the door on new reforms, describing the battle against corruption as a long-term battle and not a matter of one day or one year.
Dr. Al-Ottomani, who gave the interview on the sidelines of his participation in the International Conference on Nuclear Security hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, called on political parties in Morocco to go beyond the conventional ideological slogans and propose practical reform programs that would advance Morocco at the social and economic levels.
Regarding the decision of the Independence Party to withdraw from the government led by the Justice and Development Party Dr. Al-Ottomani said: “There is no doubt that there are problems, and we cannot pretend that everything is going well. It’s true that a political party within the coalition resigned from the government, but, practically, it did not officially submit its resignation. The government continues operating in a normal way. Now there is no cabinet reshuffle on the table, but if the Independence Party officially confirms its resignation change is likely to happen.”
Answering a question on the suitability of the designation of the “Arab Maghreb,” Dr. Al-Ottoani said that this designation doesn’t go in line with the new constitution because it excludes the Amazigh people of North Africa.
“In the countries of the Maghreb Union, there are many Amazigh. In Morocco, the Amazigh constitute the majority, and the new constitution also speaks of the Maghreb, and recognizes Tamazight as an official language alongside Arabic. Thus, I called before for to use the “Maghreb Union,” because it’s more appropriate,” said El Ottomani.
Concerning the relationship with Algeria and the closed borders since 1994, Dr.Al-Ottothe Minister said that Algeria’s allegations against Morocco are “unacceptable and baseless”
. Algeria accuses Morocco of lenience with drug traffickers while, in fact, it’s Morocco that suffers from cross-border smuggling of different items like gasoline and psychiatric drugs that flood the markets of eastern Morocco, he said.
When asked about the time the borders between Algeria and Morocco will re-open, he said: “Good question, but it should be directed to our brothers (in Algeria) who closed them. From our part, the borders are open.”