Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has strongly criticized Salaheddine Mezouar, president of Morocco’s General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), after he commented on the political climate in Algeria.
Speaking at the 12th annual World Policy Conference (WCP), Mezouare expressed support for the hirak (protest) movement in Algeria, emphasizing that such political protests “bring hope” to the region.
Following the ousting of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerians protesters are calling for a complete overhaul of the political system and the removal of the political elite from power.
The WCP opened in Marrakech on Saturday, October 12, with the participation of world business leaders.
In response to CGEM president’s statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Sunday, October 13. The statement said thatMezouar “thought it is necessary to comment on the internal situation in Algeria at an international conference held in Marrakech.”
The ministry went on describe the CGEM president as “irresponsible” and having taken an“unthinking step.”
“The CGEM cannot replace the government of his majesty the King in taking positions on international issues and in particular development in this neighboring country,” the statement said.
The Ministry reiterated that the Moroccan position in this subject is “clear and constant.”
Since the early phases of the popular movement in Algeria, Morocco has emphasized that its policies stand by “the principle of non-interference” in Algeria’s protests and the countries’ domestic affairs.
In March, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said that the Moroccan government will maintain its “non-interference” as regards the massive demonstrations in Algeria.
Bourita said that Morocco will “neither meddle with the internal developments that Algeria witnesses nor comment on them.”
Morocco’s policy counts on strengthening win-win diplomatic cooperation through respect for states’ sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs.
Following the controversy, Mezouar, who also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced his resignation as president of the CGEM.
Mezouar had been the president of CGEM since May 2018, succeeding Miriem Bensaleh, who held the office for six years.