The speaker of the Tunisian parliament expressed his hope to see an Arab Maghreb Union bringing together the five North African countries after he said that the Union should only include Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.
Rabat – After showing hostility toward Morocco by advocating for the revival of an Arab Maghreb Union with the exclusion of Morocco and Mauritania, Rached Ghannouchi, the speaker of the Tunisian parliament and leader of Tunisia’s leading Islamist party, has contradicted his controversial remarks.
In a recent meeting with Abdellatif Ouahbi, secretary-general of the Moroccan Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) in Tunisia, Ghannouchi highlighted in a contradictory statement the desperate need for strengthening the Moroccan-Tunisian bilateral relations and for the establishment of an Arab Maghreb Union, this time including Morocco and Mauritania.
The speaker of the Tunisian parliament sparked anger among Moroccans after he appeared supportive of what he described as the Arab Maghreb Union Triangle, in reference to Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.
In an interview with Radio Diwan FM in March, the Tunisian official called for a currency unification between the three countries. Ghannouchi also criticized Morocco for normalizing ties with Israel, a move he said violates the Arab consensus.
Shortly following Ghannouchi’s statements, Tunisian President Kais Saied responded with his wish to see the Arab Maghreb Union returning to conducting its normal activities.
“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.
Such comments and actions from neighboring officials often meet with diplomatic overtures from the Moroccan state.
On the 20th anniversary of King Mohammed VI’s accession to the throne, in 2019, Morocco’s King invited neighboring countries to end the solidarity crisis in 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.
Although the Union was established in Marrakech in 1989, it has not held any summit since 1994.
In spite of the advantages that the Union will offer to member states, obstruction seems to prevail, mainly from the Algerian government.
Observers do not believe Algeria would accept resuming Arab Maghreb Union activities as long as the Western Sahara conflict continues, as long as it continues to support the separatist Polisario Front in its independence claims.