Morocco’s king sets out his vision for the future

King Mohammed had called upon his country’s partners in the Maghreb Union, particularly Algeria, to rebuild trust and overcome disagreement on the path to achieving greater aspirations. Thomas Trutschel / Photothek via Getty Images
King Mohammed had called upon his country’s partners in the Maghreb Union, particularly Algeria, to rebuild trust and overcome disagreement on the path to achieving greater aspirations. Thomas Trutschel / Photothek via Getty Images

On the recent 63rd anniversary of the “Revolution of the King and the People”, King Mohammed VI of Morocco delivered a speech to his nation. The king saw the celebration of the revolution as being “associated with Morocco being part of the Maghreb”, wrote Dr Abdul Haq Azouzi in Aletihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National.

The king’s speech stated: “For Morocco, Africa means more than just being part of a geographical area, or having historical bonds with the continent. Africa also means sincere affection, appreciation, close human and spiritual relations as well as tangible solidarity. Furthermore, Africa is the natural extension of Morocco,”

Dr Azouzi mentioned The Memoirs of a King by the late King Hassan II, who dedicated a chapter to the peaceful Green March staged in 1975 through which Morocco reclaimed its southern provinces.

He noted that, during the preparation for the Green March, the king’s main concern was whether his country’s pampered youth would be like their ancestors. Whoever was asked this question would give the same reply: that Moroccans haven’t changed.

“Today, this same response has led Mohammed VI to adopt developmental visions as well as Arab, African and international dimensions in both his foreign and internal policies, thus combining the analysis of a theorist, the sagacity of an experienced person and the perception of a man of destiny in his latest speech,” the writer concluded.

The columnist Mohammed Al Ashhab noted that by choosing to commemorate the joint struggle of Maghreb countries against colonialism, King Mohammed had called upon his country’s partners in the Maghreb Union, particularly Algeria, to rebuild trust and overcome disagreement on the path to achieving greater aspirations.

“By talking about different security challenges and economic difficulties, as well as the repercussions of illegal immigration on the African coastline and the ongoing ethnic and sectarian conflicts in stigmatised African regions, King Mohammed VI is renewing the call to build bridges for dialogue and cooperation among Maghreb countries and their extensions in Africa,” Al Ashhab wrote in the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat.

“It does not take much to bring to mind the bright images of North African countries supporting African liberation movements.”

The writer noted that the king had included these highlights at a time when his country had announced its return to the African Union, and was closer to understanding the lessons of events that had dismantled the Maghrebi structure and hindered the building of bridges between the northern and inner African countries.

It was incumbent on the Maghreb countries, particularly Morocco and Algeria, to look back at the accomplishments since the revolution, which had “rocked the foundations of colonialism in the region”, the writer said.

“Such a choice is all the more valid as the security challenges and the lack of stability cast dark shadows on the surrounding Maghreb countries – not to mention their adverse effect on the crisis in Libya,” he wrote.

“When Morocco was preparing for its return to the African Union, it showed significant openness to Algeria. A high-level Moroccan delegation visited Algeria to discuss ways to bridge the gap and fix the cracks in what was considered a positive initiative in the extended hand policy,” Al Ashhab noted.

“The most important thing is to start a dialogue paved with good intentions, whereafter every issue has what it takes to prompt understanding and open-mindedness pending an agreement,” he concluded.

translation@thenational.ae

Published: August 23, 2016 04:00 AM

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