Washington, DC, August 21, 2017 (MACP) – In a speech to the nation on Sunday, King Mohammed VI reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to Africa as a top priority. The speech marked the 64th anniversary of the King and People’s Revolution Day, which commemorates the exile of Morocco’s Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef by French colonial powers – a move that proved to be a turning point in Moroccan’s mobilization for independence.
“Thanks to its spontaneous popular character, and the values of sacrifice and loyalty underpinning it, it inspired liberation movements in the Maghreb and across Africa,” said the King. “It also increased awareness of the destiny Morocco shares with the rest of the African continent, as reflected by the common struggle for freedom and independence.”
King Mohammed VI outlined his country’s long history of participation in African initiatives and organizations, most recently Morocco’s return to the African Union this year, and the agreement in principle to Morocco’s request to join the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS).
“Morocco’s commitment to – and interest in – Africa are by no means a coincidence; nor are they the result of transient considerations,” said the King, who has made more than 50 visits to over 29 African countries, 14 of them since October 2016. “They reflect a sense of loyalty to a shared history and illustrate our firm belief that ours is a common destiny.”
The King noted that Morocco’s Africa policy has directly and positively impacted consideration of the Western Sahara at the African Union and therefore revived the United Nations process to examine the issue with a focus on realism and use Morocco’s autonomy proposal as a framework for discussion, as confirmed by the most recent UN Secretary General report and the Security Council resolution adopted last April.
“Whereas 2016 was the year of resolve and intransigence,” said the King, “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 Moroccan-ness of the Sahara. This firm, unambiguous policy has helped put the process back on the right track…be it in terms of commitment to the frame of reference for a settlement, the appreciation of the autonomy proposal as a negotiating framework, or the determination of the legal and political responsibilities of the real party concerned in this regional dispute.”
Under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations, and with broad bipartisan support in the US Congress, US policy has continued to support resolving the conflict based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. Both Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations have also repeatedly called Morocco’s Autonomy Initiative “serious, realistic, and credible.”
“King Mohammed VI clearly understands the power of Africa and is wisely preparing his African country to help make the next great era an African century,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “His decision is based on the long term strategic interests of Morocco and its commitment to the African continent, and not for short term gain.”
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