Magharebia (Washington DC)

1 September 2013

Morocco: Moroccan Diplomats Encourage Regional Ties

Rabat — The Maghreb Union must be a top priority for Moroccan diplomats. That was one of the messages conveyed by King Mohammed VI during the first conference of Moroccan ambassadors held August 30th-31st at the foreign ministry headquarters in Rabat.

The monarch, whose speech was read out on his behalf when the event began on Friday morning, pledged that Morocco would work "sincerely and in good faith" towards the emergence of a new Maghreb order that transcended all sources of disagreement.

"While the world is now seeing more and more political, economic and cultural groups and bodies forming, the integration of the Greater Maghreb is regrettably at a standstill, even though everything necessary for it to happen is in place. Such a hold-up runs counter to the trend of this era and the legitimate aspirations of the brother nations of the Maghreb," the sovereign pointed out.

He called on diplomats to double their efforts to bring Morocco's commitment to the Maghreb Union to fruition, as a strategic decision set out in the Constitution, and to strengthen Morocco's relationships with all other "brother" Maghreb states.

This advice was welcomed by the Foreign Minister Saadeddine El Othmani, who likewise repeatedly underlined the need to create a strong and united new order that would consolidate the achievements, security and stability of all Maghreb countries.

El Othmani highlighted the importance of Maghreb-wide governance, which would create investment potential. As for Libya, the Moroccan foreign minister said that this Maghreb nation still needed help from the international community to build up its institutions.

Diplomats have an important duty to create a consensus between Maghreb nations on several big issues such as security challenges, democracy, economic development and young people, according to political analyst Jalal Raihani.

It is the job of diplomats to bring about a convergence of opinion between Maghreb officials, especially since they face similar economic and social issues that require close co-ordination between governments, NGOs and experts, Raihani said.

"Meetings between Maghreb officials have been held over the past few years at various levels. But the results do not yet live up to expectations for the launch of the Maghreb," the analyst told Magharebia.

"The Maghreb project remains at a standstill despite the expectations voiced by various parties. It's essential to draw up a proper road map with concrete goals. It's time to get started," he said, adding that it was time to lay political differences aside and focus on economic diplomacy.

According to economist Mehdi Cherati, Maghreb nations must develop a common platform for economic diplomacy, in order to explore foreign markets together.

By doing this, he said, they can create a bloc capable of achieving the desired level of development.

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