Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, stressed, on July 12 in Rabat, that Morocco, under the Leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, considers the Atlantic “an identity, an opportunity, a place for introspection, and a space for projection.”
Intervening at the opening of the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States Process (AASP), Bourita emphasized that “from Dakhla to Tangiers, the Atlantic has always been complementary with who we are and it also shapes what we share and the space to which we belong,” noting that “the Atlantic is highly important for the Kingdom.”
Bourita also affirmed that Morocco’s best interests are a close second to Africa’s best interests and that the latter is always compatible with the interests of the Atlantic, explaining that these interests are the foundations of a true vision for the South.
The Moroccan minister stressed the importance of implementing a structure to seize the region’s abundant opportunities for cooperation in the blue economy, energy, and other fields, while also addressing the common challenges, calling for “an African continent with large-scale initiatives.”
“Our mission will be accomplished when our partnership becomes a leading role in promoting co-development, integration, and stability in our region,” underlined the Moroccan minister, noting that the objective will be achieved when this partnership embodies the success of South-South cooperation.
“We know the Europe of small steps, we now want the Africa of big actions,” stressed Bourita, recalling that an Action Program will be submitted to the Rabat meeting for adoption.
In this regard, Bourita noted that the Action Program “enshrines our shared determination to establish a flexible, supportive partnership aimed at stability and shared prosperity in the Atlantic African space,” adding that the Program was the fruit of a collaborative consultation process between the focal points, coordinated by the Initiative’s Permanent Secretariat.
The Moroccan official detailed that the objectives of this Action Program are to reflect, in a comprehensive manner, the three pillars of this partnership, which are political and security dialogue, the promotion of cooperation in the blue economy, maritime connectivity, and energy, and the protection and conservation of the marine environment, stressing the importance of strengthening intra-regional cooperation, facilitating the convergence of views and actions on issues of common interest, and promoting dialogue and the unification of positions in international forums and cooperative efforts with international partners.
In a similar context, Bourita stated that the program should be implemented within the framework of the action plans of the partnership’s three Thematic Groups, led by Cape Verde, Gabon, and Nigeria.
The foreign minister also emphasized the importance of coordination at the national level for a coherent and cohesive implementation of this partnership, pointing out that Morocco, aware of the centrality of such coordination, has established a national coordination mechanism involving the Departments concerned by cooperation in the Atlantic region.
On this occasion, Bourita announced the launch of the initiative’s website, stating that “this digital platform will keep us updated and enable us to increase our visibility and serve as an information relay between members of the Process and partners and an instrument for advocacy and partnerships.”
The Moroccan minister announced that the meeting’s proceedings would conclude with the Rabat Declaration II, which aims to call on the Permanent Secretariat and the Focal Points to start formulating the Action Plans of the three Thematic Groups to implement the mutual ambitions of the countries bordering the Atlantic and the Vision outlined for this grouping in 2022.
“Belonging to both Africa and the Atlantic does not entail the necessity of choosing between one or the other or suffering from the issues that cut across both, on the contrary, it entails benefiting from the richness of a dual geographical and geopolitical affiliation, and acting as a link between several continents,” noted Bourita, adding that this partnership must also be open to other initiatives and other partners, in the Atlantic and elsewhere.
“While the search for new partners is undoubtedly the next step in our process, the strength of our Initiative lies in our respective capacities to ensure that this Process takes its rightful place, notably by involving all the relevant national players,” concluded Bourita.