The meeting between Moroccan and Panamanian officials consolidates Morocco’s diplomatic momentum in Central and South America.
The Panamanian official led a parliamentary delegation on a working visit to Rabat on Thursday, February 27. The group met with the Vice-President of Morocco’s House of Representatives, Mohamed Touimi Benjelloun.
The visit aimed to consolidate and develop bilateral relations between Morocco and the Central American country.
During the meeting, the Moroccan official presented the series of reforms undertaken by the Kingdom in recent years. Touimi stressed the importance of the 2011 constitution, explaining how it gave a central role to the Moroccan Parliament, turning it from a simple institution into a legislative power.
Touimi highlighted Morocco’s progress in the fields of human rights, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, and the equal representation of women and youth.
Morocco’s advanced regionalization project was also a topic of discussion during the meeting. The project aims to combat territorial disparities in Morocco and balance development projects across all regions.
Meanwhile, the Panamanian official expressed his country’s firm will to develop cooperation ties with Morocco.
The meeting was an opportunity for the Moroccan and Panamanian officials to discuss the Western Sahara issue. Touimi took the opportunity to highlight Morocco’s efforts to find a lasting and mutually agreeable solution to the conflict, explaining Morocco’s Autonomy Plan and how the initiative represents the only political solution for the dispute.
Panama was the first Latin American country to recognize the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and to host a Polisario embassy, in 1978 and 1980 respectively.
Despite a hiatus in relations between Panama and the Polisario Front, after the Panamanian government suspended its recognition of the self-styled SADR in 2013, relations were reinstated in 2015.
However, in the same year, Panama opened an embassy in Rabat, suggesting that its recognition of the self-proclaimed SADR is not a move against Morocco’s territorial integrity, but rather a position of neutrality.
Since then, Panama has maintained a friendly attitude towards Morocco.
The latest Moroccan-Panamanian meeting is part of Morocco’s diplomatic campaign in Central and South America. In recent months, Morocco accelerated the exchange of visits with officials from the Caribbean and Latin America in order to strengthen its relations with their countries, especially through legislative institutions.
Earlier this month, Rabat hosted a parliamentary meeting that concluded with the creation of a forum that includes the legislative representation of African, Latin American, and Caribbean countries.
The parliamentary forum aims to promote regional integration and South-South cooperation between the three regions.
A few days ago, a Moroccan delegation chaired by the President of the House of Councillors, Hakim Benchamach, took part in the Forum of Presidents of the Legislative Powers of Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL) in Mexico.
The meeting brought together the heads of legislative institutions from ten countries from the Caribbean and Central America, along with guest countries, including Morocco.