7 March 2019

South Africa Agrees to Upgrade Morocco's Diplomatic Representation in Pretoria

analysis

The imminent arrival of a new ambassador after a 15-year absence shows the Ramaphosa administration is putting pragmatism ahead of politics.

South Africa's long, frosty relations with Morocco have at last begun to thaw. Pretoria accepted the appointment last week of a full ambassador from Rabat for the first time in 15 years.

It has taken seven months for the South African government to ponder Morocco's request to upgrade diplomatic relations by appointing a former deputy foreign minister as envoy to Pretoria.

On Wednesday Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson for International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, confirmed to Daily Maverick that South Africa had finally sent a message to the Moroccan government through South Africa's embassy in Rabat informing it that it had approved former deputy foreign minister Youssef Amrani as ambassador to Pretoria.

He is a seasoned diplomat who has been ambassador to Columbia, Mexico and Chile as well as Secretary-General of the Mediterranean Union.

Rabat's nomination of him last August was a clear sign that Morocco wished to improve relations with South Africa. But Pretoria agonised over the decision, apparently because of conflicting views in the government.

Sisulu had indicated to Daily Maverick two weeks ago that the decision...

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