Moroccan King reaches out to Algeria to settle differences
CASABLANCA - Moroccan King Mohammed VI said his country was ready for talks with Algeria in order to settle the differences between the two neighbouring nations that have impeded their ties, in a speech delivered Tuesday to his nation on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of the Green March.
“I should like to say today, in a very straightforward and responsible way, that Morocco stands ready for a direct and frank dialogue with our sister nation, Algeria, in order to settle the transient and objective differences impeding the development of relations between the two countries,” said the King.
He suggested to Algeria that they set up a joint political mechanism for dialogue and consultation whose format, nature and level of representation can be mutually agreed upon.
“I should like to stress that Morocco is willing to consider the proposals or initiatives Algeria may want to offer in this regard so as to break the stalemate in the relations between the two neighbours and sister nations,” stressed King Mohammed VI.
He noted that the mission of the proposed mechanism would be to analyse all the issues on hand in good faith and in a very frank, objective and honest way, using an open-ended agenda, without conditions or exceptions.
“It will also contribute to enhancing bilateral coordination and consultation and help us rise to regional and international challenges, particularly in terms of fighting terrorism and addressing the issue of migration,” said the King.
He highlighted the historic ties between Morocco and Algeria, especially during the colonial rule.
He stressed that the Green March was a pivotal moment in the ongoing struggle to complete and continue safeguard the nation’s territorial integrity with the same clarity, ambition, responsibility and committed action, both domestically and at the United Nations.
The monarch also reiterated Morocco’s unchanged position during a speech delivered last year on the same occasion.
The king then insisted that his country refused any solution to the Sahara question other than within the framework of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara and the Autonomy Initiative, which has been declared serious and credible by the international community, including France and the United States.
Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an integral part of its country. The Algeria-backed Polisario Front began an armed conflict with Morocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations brokered a ceasefire in 1991.
Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.
The King said that no stone was being left unturned in the pursuit of progress in our Southern Provinces under the new development model.
“The aim is to make sure the Moroccan Sahara can once again play its historical role as an effective link between Morocco and its sub-Saharan African roots, be it from the geographical or historical perspective,” he said.
He explained that Morocco’s return to the African Union was not intended as a means to defend the question of the Moroccan Sahara, but was rather dictated by the pride “we take in belonging to Africa, as well as by our commitment to share in the development dynamic it is witnessing and to contribute to tackling the various challenges facing the Continent, without compromising our legitimate rights and best interests.”