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Is Morocco Facing an AU Stalemate?

Morocco’s Accession to ECOWAS to Be Discussed in Dakar

Rabat – As Morocco plans to expand diplomatic activities in Asian countries, some view the move as a frustrated reaction to Morocco’s still-pending ECOWAS bid and hostile AU attitudes due to to Morocco’s Western Sahara stance.

Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Alyaoum raised the possibility of these connected responses on Wednesday, reporting that Morocco has recently increased its presence in Asian countries, in conjunction with several bilateral discussions with Asian delegations in Rabat, at the invitation of Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.

Citing two Moroccan foreign affairs analysts, the newspaper added that Morocco’s action “came at a time when Morocco faces serious challenges due to Morocco’s pending ECOWAS membership bid and signs of hostility directed at Morocco’s Western Sahara stance within the African Union.”

According to Akhbar Al Yaoum, Morocco is at a political “impasse” with other African nations. However, Moroccan political analyst and expert in geostrategy El Moussaoui El Ajlaoui believes that cooperation with other continents is required.

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El Moussawi told Morocco World News that “Akhbar Al Yaoum’s use of the word ‘impasse’ is inappropriate. What is really going on currently is that Morocco has solidified its position within the AU and has been playing a central role both within the organization itself and across the continent, especially following reduced participation of the African nations in the south.”

El Moussawi added that there is a shift in the balance of power on the continent. In “African French-speaking countries, Morocco maintains its political clout. Morocco’s bid to access ECOWAS is aimed at confirming Morocco’s presence in the African Union and to reaffirm its presence at all levels.”

According to the Moroccan expert, there are no diplomatic failures. The fault lies in the absence of communication mechanisms between the government institutions and the public. “There are several errors made by national news outlets and newspapers in terms of transferring information to the public opinion and how they perceive Morocco’s moves.”

To strengthen his arguments, El Moussawi, said that the country doesn’t have a foreign affairs spokesman to explain to the public opinion what is going on regarding Morocco’s application to ECOWAS and its diplomatic activities.

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“Except the statements of the foreign minister, there is nothing else, and here lies the serious problem,” said El Moussaoui.

For El Moussaoui, Morocco’s membership in ECOWAS is not as important as its membership in the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), which is a major regional economic community in the continent.

Morocco’s bid to ECOWAS is aimed at reinforcing and reaffirming the country’s political diplomacy in the continent.

“Of course, Morocco’s application cannot be accepted immediately, there is an admission process. This action takes time. We cannot expect to be in very easily,”  El Moussaoui added.

The Moroccan expert emphasized that though there are some challenges, “[they are] totally normal. Everyone is looking for its interests after all. However, we cannot decode the delay as a failure.”

MWN asked El Moussaoui for his opinion regarding a statement made by Ambassador Oladapo Fafowora, the national president of the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN), who said during a lecture that “there is a strong opposition in the country (Nigeria) to Morocco’s application, as it lacks merit.”

El Moussaoui said that “This is very normal. We should accept this issue. Senegal, which is a country close to Morocco has been also opposing Morocco’s application. But this is quite normal as every country is defending its interests.”

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The Moroccan analyst added that we should accept differences as every country is ready to fight for its own interests.

Morocco’s Strategy to Reinforce its Foreign Policy Has Nothing To Do with These Challenges

In efforts to expand its global influence, Morocco has been looking for more diplomatic ties with other European, Latin American, and Asian countries.

While Akhbar Al Yaoum sees Morocco’s strategy as a way to overcome some struggles in the African continent, El Moussaoui said that this action is serving other required interests: the strengthening of Moroccan foreign policy internationally.

“The country is attempting to combine and build ties with other alliances, which are very important for the country’s diplomacy.”

To this point, Akhbar Al Yaoum agrees, reporting that Morocco is seeking to make this year a special stage upon which to build new relations with the other continents of the world, including Asia.

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