Rabat – Tunisia’s President Kais Saied expressed on Wednesday his hope for the revival of the Arab Maghreb Union project.
Saeid expressed his wish to see a full review of the Maghreb union during his visit to Libya.
“We will work together to ensure that the Arab Maghreb union returns to its previous activities, with a new meeting of its constituent countries at the level of foreign ministers,” the president said.
The Arab Maghreb Union is a regional organization which includes five countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, and Algeria.
The regional organization was established in Marrakech in 1989.
But internal crises in member states and regional rivalry have been some of the persisting obstacles in the way of the oft-expressed wish to achieve genuine unity and socio-political solidarity between the countries of the Maghreb.
The union has not organized any summit since 1994.
Saeid’s statements come at a time when one of the leading members of the Tunisian government called for the revival of the Maghreb union without the inclusion of Morocco.
In February, Rashid Ghannouchi, the speaker of the Tunisian parliament and leader of Tunisia’s leading Islamist party, sparked anger among Moroccans after he controversially suggested that the Maghreb would be better off without Morocco.
In an interview with Radio Diwan FM, Ghannouchi called for the relaunch of what he described as the Arab Maghreb Union triangle — Libya, Algeria, and Tunisia.
Excluding Morocco and Mauritania, the Tunsisian official said the revival of the Maghreb Union between his country, Libya and Algeria can serve as a “starting point for relaunching the dream of the Arab Maghreb Union, which will help resolve Tunisia’s problems.”
He also called for the unification of the three countries’ currencies, saying that they share common interests and challenges.
Ghannouchi’s remarks echoed similar, although more hostile, statements from the leader of Algeria’s Movement of Society for Peace party (MSP), Abderazak Makr.
Makr said in an interview: “It is imperative to exclude Morocco from the AMU, since it has brought the Zionist enemy [Israel] to our borders and we no longer trust them.”
Makr’s and Ghannouchi’s controversial remarks disregarded Morocco’s repeated calls emphasizing the importance of unity and shared responsibility to address common challenges in the Maghreb.
Morocco’s government and its King have long advocated for a joint collaboration between the Maghreb countries to address social, political, and economic crises in the region.
On the 20th anniversary of his accession to the throne in 2019, King Mohammed VI called to end the solidarity crisis befalling the Maghreb and to relaunch the long-standing project of regional unity and solidarity.
“We are optimistic and hopeful that we can work for the fulfillment of Maghreb people’s aspirations for unity, complementarity, and integration,” the King said.
Morocco’s government has also called on Algeria to engage in a “frank and direct dialogue” to lay the groundwork for the Maghreb Union project.
However, Algeria’s hostile actions and anti-Morocco maneuvers point tothe country’s unwillingness to engage in a dialogue with Rabat.