West Africa: HM The King - Morocco Warned the International Community, Years Ago, of the Perils Looming Over the Sahel and Sahara Region

Cairo, 06 — "Morocco warned the international community, years ago, of the perils looming over the Sahel and Sahara region. The sister nation, Mali, has recently seen some of the worst manifestations of extremism, terrorism and separatism," HM the King Mohammed VI said.

"Armed radical groups, mostly foreign, illegally and aggressively assailed a fully sovereign country, wreaking havoc and destroying symbols of the cultural heritage of that country, especially in Timbuktu, the spiritual capital of Mali, in an attempt to impose their obscurantist ideology and undermine the Islamic values to which the Malian people have invariably been committed since time immemorial," the sovereign underlined in a speech to participants in the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which opened on Wednesday in Cairo.

Condemning all terrorist acts that are based on excommunication and exclusion, or that seek to sow the seeds of discord as "simply incompatible with the tolerant values of Islam", HM the King noted, in the speech read out by head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, that the sister nation of Mali, acting as a sovereign country, embarked on the course of action it deemed necessary, after appealing to the Security Council, which adopted the right decision to support Mali in its efforts to preserve its unity and sovereignty.

The Sovereign said that, in response to the emergency appeal made by the Malian authorities, and given the armed terrorist groups' progression in their bid to control the entire country and force its population into submission, French troops, supported by Malian and African forces, intervened quickly and effectively. "It was this firm reaction which made it possible to check the invasion of Southern Mali and to put an end to it. This was later followed by the liberation of Northern Mali, with its cities steeped in history, its Muslim populations and its religious monuments which attest to the Malian people's longstanding adherence to Islam, as represented by the city of Timbuktu - one of the most ancient seats of Islamic civilization. The intervention was carried out in accordance with the aims targeted by the relevant United Nations resolutions," HM the King explained.

Noting that the threat and its implications extend beyond the borders of Mali to all countries in the region, and the aim is to destabilize them and undermine their unity, HM the King said that "this is a general problem, and as such it calls for a comprehensive solution within the framework of international legitimacy - a solution that builds on resolute, consistent and coherent international efforts and on the use of all means of prevention and support, both from the political and security perspective."

"Given the longstanding historical relations, strong brotherly African bonds and distinctive cultural values shared with the countries of the Sahel and Sahara region, the Kingdom of Morocco will not hesitate to show its solidarity with them as they protect their sovereignty and uphold their national choices against all forms of terrorism committed, allegedly, in the name of Islam, a faith which does not condone any deliberate aggression against people or the things they hold sacred," the sovereign underlined.

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