Paris- King Mohammed VI called, on Friday, for a comprehensive, consistent approach that combines security measures, the achievement of human development and the preservation of one’s cultural and spiritual identity to face the many challenges and the numerous threats to the stability of African countries.
“Given the many challenges faced and the numerous threats to the stability of African countries, there is a need today, more than ever, for a comprehensive, consistent approach that combines security measures, the achievement of human development and the preservation of one’s cultural and spiritual identity,” said the sovereign in a message to participants in the Elysée Summit on peace and security in Africa (Paris, December 6-7, 2013), read out by Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane.
In the area of security, the King underlined that the primary responsibility for the design, implementation and evaluation of instruments and measures relating to conflict prevention, crisis management, maintenance of peace and post-conflict reconstruction should lie with Africans and African sub-regional organizations, noting that approaches based on the exclusion of others, just like the measures premised on short-term considerations and selfish ulterior motives, have shown their limits as well as their inefficiency. In fact, they have proved to be counter-productive as far as results are concerned.
On the contrary, the King went on, the complex, transnational nature of the challenges facing the continent today requires enhanced interregional cooperation as well as a suitable and effective contribution from international partners. “The concerted, effective action in Mali is a case in point.”
In this regard, the sovereign applauded the courageous and decisive intervention of France and President François Hollande in Mali – an intervention which was reinforced by the active involvement of many African countries as well as ECOWAS, the aim being to defeat the terrorist threat and restore Mali’s sovereignty over its entire territory. The same approach should be pursued throughout the post-conflict reconstruction stages.
“It should be noted that the same spirit prevailed during the Rabat Conference on border security in North Africa and in the Sahel and Saharan countries, held in November 2013. As a result, a common political vision was developed and an operational action plan adopted,” the monarch said.
The King underscored that the surge in piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is also proving to be an increasingly alarming threat. “In order to tackle piracy, our action should draw on the experience gained in the Horn of Africa and rely on the relevant recommendations of the Yaoundé Summit which was devoted to this scourge,” His Majesty said, adding that the Conference of African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, whose Secretariat is in Morocco, can serve as a platform for cooperation and consultation with a view to charting a common strategy to preserve the safety of navigation along the entire African Atlantic coast. As well as piracy, this coast has been seriously affected by growing drug trafficking from South America.
In addition to these measures in the security field, it is important to show the same determination and commitment to boost cooperation for the achievement of economic progress and sustainable human development on the African continent, the King said, warning that there can be no lasting peace and stability without equitable, inclusive human development. Addressing the issue of stability from the sole standpoint of military and security considerations might lead to serious risks of reversibility.
In this regard, and notwithstanding the efforts made to upgrade the institutional and legal framework, Africa is still on the sidelines of the global trade and investment dynamic, the King noted, stressing the need for synergies between the proactive measures taken at African level, and a sustained, substantial commitment from the international community.
The monarch recalled that he made sure that “Africa is at the heart of Morocco’s foreign policy. This is a natural, well-thought-out, strategic decision designed to promote solidarity-based South-South and triangular cooperation, through which concrete projects are implemented for the good of several African countries,” adding that these tangible programs benefit the poorest segments of the population in such key areas as education, training, water resource management, agriculture, the fisheries, access to electricity and healthcare.
At the same time, various public/private partnerships have been created and significant investment projects successfully carried out in several African countries in the areas of finance and banking, insurance, telecommunications, infrastructure, mining, urban development and social housing, the King said, adding that Morocco has thus become the first African investor in the West African region, and the second most important investor in Africa.
The sovereign affirmed that the third pillar of any strategy for lasting stability in Africa concerns the preservation of the spiritual and cultural identity.
“It is important, in the Sahel and Sahara region, to effectively confront violent manifestations of extremism and obscurantism. It is just as important to address those manifestations upstream, seeking their immaterial root causes as well as their so-called spiritual frame of reference,” the King insisted, underlining that the preservation of peace, stability and security in the region hinges on the protection of the cultural identity as well as the religious precepts and principles which have made it possible for the populations concerned to live in harmony for centuries.
The monarch recalled that, building on its time-honored spiritual bonds with the countries of the Sahel, on the Commandership of the Faithful and on its successful reform of the religious domain, Morocco has sought to protect and promote the moderate, open, tolerant Sunni Islam which has long existed in the region, giving the example of the training 500 Malian Imams in Morocco which has already started. “The course adheres strictly to the middle-of-the-road precepts of the Maliki rite we have in common.”
In addition to the above, the sovereign said that “it is important to promote open, inclusive regional and local governance approaches that safeguard and encourage the cultural distinctiveness of local populations, while making sure the territorial integrity and national unity of states are preserved.
The monarch underlined that the implementation of any strategy for lasting stability in Africa should be based on the essential role to be carried out by sub-regional organizations which should be key players in any plan of action which might stem from our discussions. They should be the cornerstone of any strategy for the promotion of stability and development on the continent, provide the framework for any economic integration endeavor, and serve as a platform for coordination of our action as we take up climate change and sustainable development challenges.
“The role of African regional organizations deserves greater recognition and support. As pillars of the desired African integration, these organizations constitute the right framework for effectively addressing the crises that are specific to each one of our sub-regions,” the King noted.
His Majesty welcomed the decisive action undertaken in Mali by ECOWAS and encouraged that of ECCAS in the Central African Republic, in conjunction with France and the United Nations Organization, adding that it is in this context that Morocco has been trying to give fresh momentum to the Arab Maghreb Union, to give a new direction to CEN-SAD and to promote interregional cooperation, particularly with ECOWAS and CEMAC.
Often a source of human suffering and insecurity, the migration phenomenon calls for a new approach based on a proactive, considerate and humanistic policy, which also takes security imperatives into account, the King said, recalling that, guided by a spirit of solidarity and consistent with a longstanding tradition of hospitality, Morocco has recently adopted a new migration policy.
“In full compliance with its international commitments, Morocco has decided to implement a national policy which is unprecedented in the region. It is based on a humanistic approach, on responsible procedures and on full respect for the fundamental human rights of migrants and refugees,” the monarch concluded.