FM: Royal Vision Behind Morocco’s Diplomatic Breakthroughs in Western Sahara

In less than one year, 15 countries opened general consulates in the Moroccan cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, Western Sahara.

The consistent opening of consulates and diplomatic representations in Western Sahara, southern Morocco, is the fruit of the “wise” African policy of King Mohammed VI, said Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“Moroccan diplomacy is reaping the fruits of its African policy,” Bourita said on Tuesday, October 27.

The Moroccan foreign minister made the statement during a press conference after the opening of two new consulates in Laayoune. He co-chaired the inauguration ceremony of Zambia and Eswatini’s new diplomatic representations in Morocco’s southern provinces.

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Over the past 20 years, the royal African policy relied on initiative and solidarity for the benefit of the African continent, Bourita said. This policy has allowed Morocco to establish “fruitful partnerships that benefit everyone,” he added.

This royal vision has also turned Morocco into a “credible partner” for the majority of African states and gave the country a “strong presence” in the African Union and other African institutions, the Moroccan FM continued.

One of the most important moves that allowed Morocco to “reconnect with its African roots” was the country’s return to the African Union in January 2017. Most countries from all across the continent welcomed Morocco’s return to the continental institution, saying the Kingdom will significantly contribute to the AU’s development.

Read also: Zambia Opens Consulate General in Morocco’s Laayoune, Western Sahara

Bourita presented how Morocco’s partnerships with African states developed from being restricted to countries that are geographically close to the Kingdom to partnerships all across the continent.

“Today, our partnerships extend to countries in the extreme south of the continent and are based on the same principles of cooperation, credibility, and friendship,” he stated.

Countries in Southern Africa have traditionally challenged Morocco’s territorial integrity, mainly due to their close ties with South Africa — one of Morocco’s biggest rivals on the continent.

In recent years, however, many countries from the region, such as Malawi, Eswatini, and Zambia, withdrew recognition from the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and expressed support for Morocco’s territorial integrity. 

The Moroccan diplomat recalled Morocco’s series of diplomatic achievements since late 2019 when African states began opening diplomatic representations in the country’s southern region.

So far, 15 countries from West, East, Central, and Southern Africa have opened general consulates in Laayoune and Dakhla. “This momentum will continue further,” Bourita promised.

The countries are Cote d’Ivoire, Comoros, The Gambia, Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Djibouti, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, and Zambia.

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This dynamic increases support for the “Moroccanness” of the Sahara, which is “a reality that is neither negotiable nor debatable,” the diplomat explained.

“The Sahara is Moroccan by law, by history, by the will of its people, and by the growing support from the international community and from the friends of Morocco,” he continued.

Several countries, in Africa and beyond, agree with Bourita’s statement and have regularly expressed support for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Much of the international community has also welcomed Morocco’s development projects in the region, which have moved forward at an accelerated pace since 2015.

Bourita stressed that the local population is enjoying tangible progress thanks to Morocco’s development efforts in the region.

The region’s inhabitants manage their own affairs in a democratic manner, which reinforces the legitimacy of Morocco’s territorial integrity, Bourita concluded.

Read also: Western Sahara’s ‘Moroccanness’ Reaches Unprecedented Heights