Today I am addressing you, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the Green March, from Dakar, the capital city of the sister nation Senegal, and I know that this move will not surprise you.
As a matter of fact, Senegal was one of the countries that took part in this national epic, together with other African and Arab nations.
This beloved country has always been at the forefront of advocates of the Kingdom’s territorial unity and lofty interests.
Furthermore, on several occasions, it has shown through words and deeds that it considers the cause of the Moroccan Sahara as one its own national causes.
Moroccans will not forget the courageous, solidarity-based stance taken by this country when Morocco decided to withdraw from the Organization of African Unity, back in 1984. The then President, Mr. Abdou Diouf, deemed that it was impossible to imagine the Organization without Morocco.
The same stance was adopted by many African states, such as Guinea, Gabon and former Zaire.
I have also chosen Senegal because of the special status it enjoys in Africa, thanks to its historically democratic model, its political and social stability, as well as its economic dynamism.
There are also fraternal bonds, based on solidarity and a shared destiny, which have historically existed between the Moroccan and the Senegalese peoples, who stand as one single people, with each one forming a natural extension of the other, in a unique symbiosis between two independent countries respecting each other’s particularities.
On the same day last year, I delivered a speech on Africa from Laayoune, in the Moroccan Sahara, and today, I am talking to you from the heart of Africa about the Moroccan Sahara.
By delivering my speech from this hospitable land I am expressing a keen interest in our continent.
Morocco’s African policy will not be limited to West and Central Africa. I will see to it that it acquires a continental dimension and covers the whole of Africa.
In this regard, I have visited Rwanda and Tanzania even though our relations with East-African countries are limited – not out of neglect or lack of effort, but for objective reasons, such as language, geographic distance and cultural differences.
Together with the powerful leaders of these countries, with whom we share the same willingness, we have decided to give fresh impetus to our political and economic relations, given the political clout of this region, its economic potential and its strategic assets.
At the end of this unprecedented tour, I would like to share with you, dear citizens, the results of these visits.
The first signs of such openness to this important African area emerged with the visit to Morocco, last June, by my brother Mr. Paul Kagamé, President of the Republic of Rwanda.
My visit to Rwanda has enabled us to consolidate this trend, as the foundations for a promising partnership in all fields have been laid in order to build the main pillar on which to develop our relations with the region.
My trip to Tanzania was prompted by its status in the region, its geographic location and its human potential. I was also keen to coordinate with this country regarding regional and international issues.
I have also been in touch with authorities in the Republic of Ethiopia, with whom we will open a new chapter in our relations.
It will also be the first stop in the second part of my African tour, which will include a number of Sub-Saharan countries, in connection with Morocco’s return to the continental organization.
Morocco’s return to the African Union is not a tactical decision, nor is it motivated by passing considerations. It is a rational decision, taken after careful thought.
When we announced our return, we were not asking for anyone’s permission to exercise our legitimate right.
In any case, Morocco is returning to its natural place and is supported by an overwhelming majority to reclaim its seat within the African institutional family.
Morocco, which does not meddle in other states’ home affairs and rejects divisive policies, hopes all parties will respond to this decision in a wise and responsible manner, to make sure African unity and African peoples’ interests prevail.
This decision is the culmination of our African policy and the outcome of Morocco’s solidarity-based field action in a number of African countries, in terms of economic and human development aimed at serving African citizens.
In addition to cooperation at the bilateral level and with regional groupings, this return will enable our country to adhere to sectoral development strategies in Africa and actively support and enrich them thanks to the outstanding experience Morocco has gained in various fields.
As far as the continent’s major issues and problems are concerned, the return of my country to its institutional family will enable Morocco to help make the voice of Africa heard in international forums.
It will also enable it to further strengthen its commitment to finding objective solutions to these issues, bearing in mind African peoples’ interests and particularities.
In this regard, I am keen to further contribute to consolidating security and stability in the various war zones and hotspots and to finding peaceful solutions to conflicts.
Furthermore, this return will enable Morocco to become more involved in the continent’s efforts to fight extremism and terrorism, which compromise the future of Africa.
In this context, we are committed to sharing with our African brothers our outstanding, internationally recognized experience in the fields of security cooperation and fighting radicalism.
As far as migration is concerned, our country will continue to strive to deal with the real causes of the phenomenon and link it to development, within a human, solidarity-based approach which upholds migrants’ rights and preserves their dignity.
Aware that Africa is one of the regions most affected by climate change, I have made sure that the Climate Conference which opens in Marrakech this week, is a conference for Africa.
Accordingly, I have called for an African summit to be held on the sidelines of this conference in order to develop a common vision to uphold our continent’s demands, particularly in terms of funding and transfer of technology.
Morocco’s return to its continental institutional family will not change our unwavering position regarding the Moroccan Sahara.
On the contrary, it will enable us to defend our legitimate rights and correct the fallacies peddled by opponents of our territorial unity, particularly within the African Union.
We will also foil their attempts to insert such fallacies into resolutions which are contrary to the base set by the United Nations for the settlement of this fabricated regional dispute and to the stances adopted by most African states.
Our African policies have proved successful – thanks be to God – and are starting to bear fruits, both at the level of political stances regarding the issue of our territorial unity, and in terms of further economic involvement and stronger relations with various African countries.
Today, Morocco is regarded as an influential regional power and enjoys the esteem and trust not only of the continent’s leaders, but of its peoples too.
In this regard, I look forward to seeing the government adopt a comprehensive, integrated policy towards Africa and deal with the continent as one bloc.
I also expect ministers to grant as much importance to Africa as to their missions and trips to western countries.
Morocco needs a serious, responsible government. The future cabinet should not be the result of calculations aimed at fulfilling political parties’ wishes, based on electoral arithmetic, as if there were spoils to be shared out.
A government should have a clear program and well-defined priorities, both for home and foreign affairs, particularly as far as Africa is concerned. The government should have the ability to deal with the difficulties inherited from past years, with respect to Morocco’s obligations towards its partners.
The government should involve an efficient, coherent structuring effort, consonant with programs and priorities. It also requires qualified, skilled resources, with specific sectoral attributions.
These are the criteria I will ensure are respected when the next government is formed, in compliance with a strict methodology. I will not tolerate any attempts to deviate from it.
Moroccans expect the coming government to be up to the challenge of this crucial phase.
I am sure that a stronger democratic, development process and a consolidated African policy will contribute to safeguarding our national and territorial unity.
Our southern provinces are strong thanks to their populations’ commitment to their Moroccan nationality and to the nation’s political system.
This has been mirrored in their massive participation in various elections and their voluntary, responsible involvement in the management of their local affairs.
These provinces are also ambitious, thanks to the specific development model and projects launched in the region.
Moreover, they have the potential, in terms of security, stability and infrastructure, to become an integrated development hub, at both regional and continental levels, as well as a platform for economic cooperation between Morocco and Africa.
The development and stability of our southern provinces are a historic, national responsibility we should all strive to fulfill, through dedicated joint action.
On this occasion, I remember with deep respect the architect of the Green March, my revered father His Late Majesty King Hassan II – may he rest in peace – as well as all the nation’s glorious martyrs.
I would also like to pay tribute to all components of our Royal Armed Forces for their devotion and constant mobilization, under my commandership, to defend the nation’s unity and sovereignty and preserve its security and stability.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh”.