* Address highlights priorities & interests for region, Africa, & globally *
Jean R. AbiNader
September 5, 2013
Last week, King Mohammed VI highlighted his foreign policy vision and goals in a speech to the diplomatic corps read by the Foreign Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani. The King expressed his determination that Morocco’s foreign policy reflects its cultural identity and geo-strategic position, and “adapts efficiently and skillfully to a complicated and ever-changing international environment.” He noted that the international community is moving towards “an emerging new world order [that] has yet to establish itself.”
Among the many challenges this presents is the proliferation of “new powers and new actors,” such as international NGOs and multinational corporations, along with specialized international agencies and the impact that they have on decision-making. King Mohammed noted that challenges to the global order have also multiplied, and these crises “had an impact on security and politics, economy and finance, as well as on environmental and food security, and this has profoundly and negatively affected the situation in the world.”
Morocco’s proactive foreign policy
The King addressed the need to continue working on bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels with neighbors and partners to promote opportunities for cooperation.
He also addressed Morocco’s commitment to the rule of law and the “irreversible principles of political pluralism and active involvement, in harmony with its traditions and values,” with a specific reference to “diplomacy based on human resources development and effective participation in the United Nations’ peace-keeping operations.” It is this concern for human development and its impact on security that underlines much of Morocco’s foreign policy.
The King linked domestic priorities for stability and greater reforms with Morocco’s international posture. “…promote the Moroccan model, which is solid and rich thanks to the thorough reforms undertaken and the major development projects carried out in all fields, be they in the areas of human development, tourism or renewable energy, and also thanks to Morocco’s heritage as a country of openness and tolerance, as well as a land for cultural cohabitation and interaction.”
Interestingly, he exhorted the diplomats to act as economic ambassadors for the country, promoting both trade and investment relations and working with relevant departments in Morocco to expand their outreach internationally. The King also emphasized the importance of building strong cultural relations “to promote the genuine Moroccan cultural heritage at the international level, along with its authentic, rich, plural and unified identity,” through public-private sector cooperation.
Morocco in Africa a priority
Africa was certainly a priority in the King’s address.
After again expressing his support for a Maghreb Union, he spoke of the need “to strengthen our country’s ties with other sister nations of the Maghreb region…and strengthening our relations with sub-Saharan nations and putting them at the heart of the Moroccan diplomatic agenda…to uphold the values of solidarity, fraternity and African self-reliance.”
To make this a reality, the King emphasized stronger bilateral relations in Africa, an enhanced role in the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), and “consolidating relations with African sub-regional organizations, especially in West and Central Africa.” He also called for restarting the Conference of African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean as a regional organization to promote economic growth and coordinated development.
Throughout his remarks, it is clear that the King is calling on the diplomatic community to adapt to the new and continuing challenges of the evolving global reality, to promote greater stability and cooperation in international relations, and to bind together countries that share a commitment to human development as a core principle of foreign relations. While there continues to be great uncertainty in the global community, Morocco believes that its core values and principles enable it to maintain its momentum toward greater regional and international cooperation.