Abidjan - King Mohammed VI received on Wednesday in Abidjan President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on the sidelines of Morocco's participation in the 5th African Union-European Union Summit.
Abidjan – King Mohammed VI received on Wednesday in Abidjan President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on the sidelines of Morocco’s participation in the 5th African Union-European Union Summit.
During this “warm and open meeting,” the two heads of state agreed to work together for a promising future, especially as Morocco and Africa South are two important poles of political stability and economic development, respectively in the extreme north and the extreme south of the continent.
They also agreed to maintain direct contact and to launch a fruitful economic and political partnership in order to build strong, lasting and stable relations and to go beyond the situation that had characterized bilateral relations for decades, according to Maghreb Arab Press.
In this regard, the Moroccan monarch and President Zuma have decided to raise the level of diplomatic representation through the appointment of high-level ambassadors in Rabat and in Pretoria.
The audience took place in the presence of the King’s advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma, and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation.
On the South African side, the audience was attended by minister of international relations and cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Ambassador to the African Union, Ndumiso Ntshinga, and South African President’s legal advisor, Michael Hulley.
This meeting, which comes as a surprise for many observers constitutes a departure from Morocco’s empty chair policies adopted in the past. This policy consisted in shunning every country or organization that is supportive of the Polisario Front, which claims to be the sole representative of the Saharawis and challenges Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
While Morocco has maintained normal relations with South Africa following the end of the Apartheid in 1994, things changed in September 2004 when South African decided to recognize the Polisario’s self-proclaimed Saharwai Arab Democratic Republic and to establish diplomatic relations with it.
Ever since, South Africa has become, along with Algeria, the staunchest supporters of the Polisario and its claims. For the past 13 years, the two countries left no stone unturned to abort every Moroccan attempt to pave the way towards achieving a mutually acceptable political solution to the conflict in line with relevant Security Council resolutions adopted since 2007.