Rabat, Aug 21 (IANS) Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has reiterated his country’s commitment to Africa, stressing that his 14 visits to African countries since October last year and Rabat’s return to the African Union are part of the vision of serving shared interests through solidarity-based, win-win partnerships.
In a speech to mark the ’64th Revolution of King and People’, the King said Morocco’s African policy is based on a thorough understanding of African realities, which are highlighted by flagship development projects like the Nigeria-Morocco Atlantic gas pipeline, construction of fertilizer plants in Ethiopia and Nigeria as well as human development projects, according to an official statement.
King Mohammed VI said the return to the African Union was a diplomatic watershed moment in his country’s foreign policy and Rabat has also secured an agreement in principle to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional grouping of 15 West African countries.
“Africa was and always will be a top priority for us… Reintegration into the AU is but the start of a new era of joint action with all African countries in order to build a genuine, solidarity-based partnership, ensure – together – our continent’s development and meet the needs of African citizens,” he said.
He attacked those who “spread unfounded allegations” that Morocco is spending huge sums of money on Africa instead of on Moroccans, saying “the focus on Africa will not be at the expense of our national priorities”.
On the question of the Sahara area, which Rabat calls Moroccan Sahara, the King said “2017 has been the year of clarity and of a return to the standards and principles for the settlement of the artificial dispute over the Moroccanness of the Sahara”.
He said the “proactive, composed and firm manner” in which Morocco settled the Guerguerat crisis “thwarted the efforts to change the facts on the ground in our Sahara and helped put to rest the myth of the ‘liberated territories’ peddled by Morocco’s enemies”.
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