Rabat - Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to outline the kingdom's stances on several regional and international issues.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday to outline the kingdom’s stances on several regional and international issues.
The speech confirmed Morocco’s priorities to strengthen cooperation with Africa, defend the kingdom’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, and reaffirm its commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism.
Africa: Sense of Belonging
Morocco’s reintegration to the African Union (AU) was a decision “not dictated by opportunism,” Bourita stressed. Instead, he said that this return to the “African family” was the “crowning” of a strategic itinerary backed by the personal vision of King Mohammed VI.
The kingdom’s rejoining with the continental organization, after more that three decades of absence, also reflected a “sense of pride and belonging to Africa,” insisted the minister. This sense of belonging was described by King Mohammed VI in his speech to the AU in January, when he called the organization Morocco’s “home.”
Being “home” would mean sharing the same objectives and aspirations, assuming similar responsibilities, and defending the country’s interests, all of which Bourita vowed Morocco would continue doing.
The sense of common destiny that Morocco shares with other African nations also means that the inter-African bonds cultivated would go beyond short-term economic exchanges, the minister explained. Bourita quoted the King, who said in August 2016 that Morocco did not see Africa as just a market to sell Moroccan products.
Western Sahara: Maghreb Situation Is a Warning to Algeria
In the speech, Bourita accused other Maghreb countries of being hostage to a Cold War-era ideology, suggesting that they should think carefully about their policies, which he said are deepening the crisis of the region.
Bourita was clearly referring to Algeria, the Polisario Front’s main sponsor, which he said was “still prisoner of an obsolete logic,” with “no objectives other than maintaining disputes inherited from another era, such as the one concerning Moroccan Sahara.”
The minister pointed that the current situation in the region, which is suffering from lack of economic integration and security cooperation at a time where the crisis in Libya is worsening and security threats are mounting, should be a source of caution to “those parties.”
The chief Moroccan diplomat reiterated the kingdom’s position in the Western Sahara that a political solution to the conflict should be worked out based on Morocco’s Autonomy Plan.
With such a proposal on the table, it is up to the other parties “to assume their responsibilities and cease their double-tongued discourse” and seriously engage, with a ”constructive set of mind,” in the political process under the umbrella of the UN, he said.
As for Morocco, affirmed the minister, it is ready to work with the new UN Envoy, Horst Köhler -who previously announced his intention to make a first trip to the region – in order to achieve a solution to the dispute.
Global Threats: Need for Joint Efforts
The world of today is undergoing major contradictions, said the Moroccan minister. While conventional armed conflicts between nations have largely ceased, Bourita explained, the world is witnessing the rise of other global security threats, such as terrorism, separatism, and climate change.
Globalization too is posing other challenges to the world, the minister said. As much as it has created economic opportunities for development, he asserted that it is also the source of “financial crises that have led to the increase of unemployment and poverty and have deepened social disparities in and between countries.”
While Bourita affirmed that technological development has had a positive impact in connecting the world, he said it is now turning to a weapon in the hands of radical groups, which are threatening the security of countries across the globe.
“This reality, with all its contradictions, raises questions for us all about the future of our world facing the enormity of threats posed by unconventional phenomena,” he concluded.