Kuwait - HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to participants in the 3rd Arab-African cummit held this Nov. 19-20 in Kuwait. Here follows the full text of the message that was read out by head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane:
« Praise be to God, May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Your Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ,
First of all, I should like to express my sincere thanks to my brother His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait, for the excellent organization of this important third Summit. I firmly believe this Summit will give fresh impetus to the Arab-African partnership, allowing us to base our relationship on clear, solid foundations that can pave the way for political coordination and for economic cooperation and integration between the two regional groupings.
Since the second Arab-African Summit, held in 2010, the Kingdom of Morocco has been fully committed to implementing a comprehensive approach with a view to revitalizing our partnership, making sure we all fully respect our countries’ sovereignty and national, immutable values. My country has also sought to enhance its effective role and thus ensure the success and sustainability of our Summit, and to support its mechanisms and tools so that the Summit may become one of the key instruments promoting Arab-African cooperation.
In view of the principles and values our two groupings have in common, and also our shared cultural heritage and spiritual legacy, it goes without saying that we have to be united and to speak with one voice. Today’s Summit is being held at a crucial juncture, particularly for our region. This situation should prompt us, more than ever, to enhance our spirit of cohesion and solidarity in order to strengthen this natural partnership, give it the means to rise to the major, unprecedented challenges facing us at various levels - whether in the economic, security or development fields - and keep up with the changes induced by global developments.
In this respect, and as we prepare to celebrate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I cannot but commend the African countries’ unwavering stance regarding this just cause. African countries have shown constant support for the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to regain all their occupied territories and set up their independent State, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. This was confirmed during the vote on Palestinian statehood in which the sister nation Palestine was accorded Non-Member Observer State status at the United Nations.
I reiterate my commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative, which I consider a strategic instrument for a feasible and acceptable settlement of this conflict. At the same time, I wish to insist on the need for the international community to shoulder its responsibility in order to compel Israel to put an end to its illegitimate settlement activities, to stop its provocative practices and to respond positively to the new dynamics of the current negotiations.
As regards the tragedy which is afflicting our Syrian brothers - and whose consequences we are following with deep concern - the horrific bloodshed and the killing of innocent victims, especially women and children, the Kingdom of Morocco, alongside its Arab and international partners, will spare no effort to contribute to encouraging all the parties concerned to achieve a political transition, making sure that country’s territorial integrity and national unity are respected.
Our countries - from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, and from the Mediterranean to the Gulf of Guinea and the Central African region - are threatened. The threat is even greater when their borders become porous as a result of political upheavals, security challenges and the impact of climate change.
In several regions, hotbeds of tension have increased, with poverty and vulnerability providing fertile ground for the spread of piracy, arms smuggling and drug and human trafficking. This has contributed to the rise of extremist and terrorist trends, and the proliferation of obscurantist ideologies which can neither be combated nor circumscribed without concerted efforts and the mobilization of means of defense to address them resolutely.
In this regard, it is indeed regrettable that the Sahel and Sahara region has become a fertile ground for terrorist and extremist groups. It is our duty to protect and safeguard the region and to seek to turn it into a haven of peace and prosperity.
To this end, it is imperative to bring about the right conditions for the promotion of peace throughout the region, to make sure the region’s inhabitants enjoy stability and security and to achieve sustainable human development. Such an objective requires the mobilization of strategic defense and response means, and the creation of conditions conducive to comprehensive development, thus enhancing the link that must exist between security and development.
I believe regional blocs constitute the best instrument for addressing the above threats, especially the Economic Community of West African States - of which Morocco is an observer member - and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, whose next summit will be held in the Kingdom of Morocco.
This is why I should like to call for concerted efforts on the part of all the parties concerned in order to upgrade the mechanisms and tools of these two regional groupings, and achieve effective regional integration.
The institutional gridlock affecting the Arab Maghreb Union is, indeed, regrettable. To this day, and although it is adjacent to the Sahel and Sahara region and is facing the same dangers and challenges, this bloc has not been able to carry out the political, economic and social mission entrusted to it.
In this respect, the Kingdom of Morocco, which has always defended the sovereignty of the Malian state, noted, with great satisfaction, the successful, transparent and credible presidential election held in this sister nation. Morocco pledges to do all it can to help Mali with its endeavors to consolidate peace, achieve reconciliation and strengthen its fundamental spiritual and religious values, as well as with its reconstruction efforts.
Given its geographic location, and being a deeply-rooted African country, Morocco puts Africa at the heart of its foreign policy. It seeks to leverage its relations and partnerships to build bridges of cooperation between sister African nations and bring them closer to one another. This is why it is Morocco’s ambition to see many joint projects implemented in various key areas, building on the close friendship and mutual trust between Arab countries and sister African nations.
In this regard, the Kingdom of Morocco has achieved a great deal in its cooperation with the sub-Saharan sister nations. The various visits I have paid to a number of African countries reflect my strong desire to give fresh momentum to Morocco’s relations with these sister nations, and to uphold the spirit of South-South cooperation, particularly in the fields of human development, trade and investment.
Morocco has thus implemented ambitious, practical projects in numerous fields, such as information and communication technology, human development, the sharing of know-how and expertise, university training, agriculture, health, water resource management and energy. Morocco has also been involved in productive projects aimed at offering African citizens a dignified life. Moreover, my country has actively sought to develop investment, trade and economic relations with African countries.
God willing, I intend to pursue these efforts in order to strengthen bilateral cooperation with sub-Saharan countries and expand the scope of regional partnerships with a view to promoting effective, comprehensive human development.
I believe that ours is a common destiny and that we need to encourage optimal and efficient Arab-African cooperation. For this reason, I hope our Summit will expand the scope of cooperation between our two regions in order to develop and implement local development plans based on good governance and a comprehensive vision. As part of this approach, the private sector, elected councils and bodies, intellectual elites and civil society organizations would be involved in the development process in Africa.
There is no doubt in my mind that this Summit will be a turning point in Arab-African cooperation, and that it will lay the groundwork for a robust, fruitful partnership through the implementation of the 2011-2016 Arab-African partnership action plan. This plan aims to encourage trade relations between our two groupings, in addition to facilitating the free movement of goods, services and capital between the two regions.
The success we wish for our partnership cannot be achieved unless there is full respect for the principles of the United Nations’ Charter and for the international norms governing relations between states. These principles and norms are essentially based on respect for the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of states.
To conclude, I should like to say, once again, how keen Morocco is to ensure the success of the cooperation and exchange dynamics set in motion by our Summit with a view to ensuring that the results obtained will match the ambitions of our peoples and fulfill their expectations. This means we have to overcome momentary disputes and obstacles. We also have to promote cohesion and complementarity in order to show our strong desire to improve our peoples’ living conditions, making them feel, through the achievement of development and a dignified life, that It is worthwhile belonging to the Arab-African world ».