7 February 2013

Morocco: King Mohammed VI Calls for Resolute, Coherent International Effort in Mali, Syria

Condemning "extremism, terrorism and separatism" in a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Cairo, King Mohammed VI reminded the audience that Morocco had "warned the international community, years ago, of the perils looming over the Sahel and Sahara region" and called for "consistent and coherent" international efforts to stem the tide of terrorist activities in the region.

He lauded the "firm reaction" by French, Malian and African forces that ended the invasion of Southern Mali and liberated the Northern Mali cities of Gao, Kidal, and Timbuktu from terrorists.

HM the King expressed Morocco's support for Mali's "efforts to preserve its unity and sovereignty." He 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."

King Mohammed warned that the threat extends beyond the borders of Mali to all countries in the region, and the terrorists' aim is to destabilize them and undermine their unity. "As we can see," he continued, "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."

King Mohammed also reiterated Morocco's commitment to remain actively involved in international efforts -- such as the meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People Morocco hosted recently -- aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria. He directed attention to the humanitarian situation, noting that Morocco has set up a multi-disciplinary field hospital in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, and has supplied additional humanitarian aid in Jordan and Turkey to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees.

He expressed his strong view that the international community is now duty-bound to support the political transition process, with the participation of the legitimate representatives of the Syrian people, adding that "no hesitation or procrastination is acceptable any longer."

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