Washington, DC (Oct. 21)—The United Nations’ 193 member nations voted in New York City today to approve Morocco’s bid to serve as one of five new non-permanent members on the UN Security Council in 2012-2013. Morocco received 151 votes from the UN’s members in the first round of voting, well over the two-thirds required, and will join the 15-member UN Security Council in January.
As the uncertain outcomes of Arab Spring change continue to reshape North Africa and the Middle East, Morocco has been recognized for its leadership in supporting peaceful democratic reforms in the region, both before and during the Arab Spring, and for confronting the rising threat of terrorism and extremism. Morocco has also been an important ally for UN peacekeeping efforts, and played a key role in mobilizing Arab and international support for the UN-backed effort in Libya that led to the downfall of the Qaddafi regime.
“Morocco is joining the UN Security Council at a time of great challenge,” said Robert Holley, executive director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy. “But it can also be a time of great opportunity if world leaders act. Morocco has shown it has a model of reform that can meet its people’s aspirations for peaceful change, and also address international concerns for security and stability. What the Maghreb needs now is to end longstanding differences in the interest of greater cooperation and unity in North Africa.”
“Morocco understands the importance of democratic reforms for winning the fight against extremism and terrorism,” said Yonah Alexander, director, International Center of Terrorism Studies, Potomac Institute of Policy Studies. “Nowhere is this more critical than in North Africa and the Middle East, where reformers and extremists are in a life-and-death struggle. Terrorist attacks have risen more than 500% in North Africa and the Sahel since 9/11. The recent influx of Libyan arms smuggled into the Sahel, the base for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, is a great concern. Col. Qaddafi may be gone, but his weapons are a threat to the stability of the entire region.”
Announcing Morocco’s candidacy at the UN last month, Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said the North Africa nation is committed to reinforcing its “partnership for peace” with the UN, and would focus on reducing arms stockpiles, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and enhancing solidarity with developing nations in South-South cooperation.
Sec. of State Hillary Clinton reiterated US backing for Morocco after its July 1 Constitutional referendum. “During this time of profound change in the Middle East and North Africa,” she said, the US appreciates and supports Morocco’s “efforts to strengthen the rule of law, human rights and good governance.” Meeting in March with Foreign Minister Fassi Fihri, she called Morocco “a model for others in the region.” The two leaders announced a new “strategic dialogue” to deepen bilateral relations and address regional development and security.
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. For more, please visit www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org
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