The DRC was among the African countries to express support last month for Morocco’s action in Guerguerat.
Rabat – Carrying a message from King Mohammed VI, the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Cooperation, Mohcine Jazouli, met on Tuesday with the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Antoine Tshisekedi.
During the meeting, Jazouli and Tshisekedi discussed recent developments and upcoming appointments in the African Union. President Tshisekedi is the first vice-chairperson of the African Union and will become chairperson in 2021.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa currently serves as AU chair. The upcoming transition to Tshisekedi will mark a significant shift in the AU chair’s stance on Morocco and Western Sahara. Ramaphosa unabashedly supports Polisario and Algeria while the DRC supports Morocco and its territorial integrity.
Morocco is also pursuing the presidency of four AU commissions: Commissioner of Peace and Security; Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development; Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Minerals; and Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development.
Rabat is working to consolidate its active role in the AU in the run-up to January 2021, marking four years since Morocco’s reintegration into the continental body in 2017.
Morocco was absent from the AU for 33 years due to a number of countries supporting the membership of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
With South-South cooperation and pan-African ties among the priorities of Moroccan foreign policy, Morocco is now emerging as a continental leader and experiencing unprecedented support for its cause in Western Sahara among AU member states.
The DRC was among the African proponents of Morocco’s recent action in Guerguerat, with President Tshisekedi sending Rabat a message of support last month.
On November 13, the Moroccan army carried out a non-offensive security operation to lift a three-week blockade that Polisario militias had staged at the Guerguerat crossing on the Moroccan-Mauritanian border.
The DRC was one of several dozen countries around the world to convey support for Morocco’s action. President Tshisekedi personally wrote a letter to King Mohammed VI, describing the Polisario-led blockade as “unacceptable.”
With this demonstration of support still fresh, Jazouli and the DRC president also reviewed the bilateral ties between Morocco and the DRC and discussed means to strengthen them during their meeting in Kinshasa on Wednesday.
Apart from enjoying warm political relations, Morocco and the DRC share common interests in other fields such as energy. In February, Morocco’s Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah expressed to his DRC counterpart his ministry’s commitment to sharing the Moroccan experience in the field of electrification and the installation of wind power regulation systems.
Security is another focus of Morocco-DRC cooperation. Between 1998 and 2003, the DRC suffered a gruesome civil war that killed an estimated 10 million people, and turmoil persists.
Morocco has sent UN peacekeepers to the country, and its peacekeeping efforts in DRC earned local and international praise. Sixty Moroccan peacekeepers returned from the DRC this year after the country imposed lockdowns due to COVID-19.