Rabat – King Mohammed VI has instructed an “important governmental delegation” to represent Morocco at a security summit organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), government sources have indicated.
The conference, set to open today in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, is expected to discuss the mounting security challenges facing the West African bloc as well as other strategic areas in the Sahel area.
In the past months and years, the Sahel region has faced a resurgence of terrorist activities by various extremist groups, including Boko Haram, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi), and, increasingly, ISIS returnees.
Countries like Burkina, Niger, and Mali, and Nigeria have so far borne the brunt of the rising insecurity in the region.
The conference, organized amid that grim background, is meant to be an occasion to discuss tighter security cooperation among ECOWAS member states—15 in total—as well as other countries on the continent and elsewhere willing to significantly contribute to curbing the lethal wave of terrorism revival in the region.
“Under special royal instructions,” noted the government statement, the Moroccan delegation to the conference will be headed by Foreign Affairs minister Nasser Bourita.
The statement added that the royal instructions came in response to an invitation from Niger’s President Mohamadou Issoufou, who extended a special invitation to King Mohammed VI for the summit.
Morocco’s status of “special guest,” according to the Moroccan government, suggests an acknowledgement of the kingdom’s efforts for continental agendas, especially in the ECOWAS where Rabat has been notably active of late in all vital sectors.
Meanwhile, for Morocco, the event represents an opportunity to support its ECOWAs membership bid by highlighting the depth of its significance to the regional body, from economic to socio-political reasons.
At the Ouagadougou summit, Morocco hopes to emphasize its effective, world-renowned security and anti-terrorism apparatus, a reminder of the significant value added its membership represents for the collective challenges ailing many countries in the regional bloc.