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Morocco turns down involvement in BRICS – Africa meeting

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King Mohammed VI

As South Africa gets set to host the five-nation grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa commonly called BRICS to a four-day meeting starting on Tuesday, the Kingdom of Morocco has declined the invitation to attend.

BRICS is a grouping of world economies and was founded 13 years ago. It has planned a meeting tagged BRICS-Africa.

But a source from Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Cooperation has confirmed that the kingdom never considered participating in the meeting in any capacity.

It had been speculated that Morocco might be wooed to be part of the current five-nation alliance. It had also been speculated that Russia was considering holding a BRICS Games, about four weeks to Paris 2024 Olympics which the country is likely to be excluded.

In declining the invitation to attend the meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, a source in Morocco remarked that such initiative did not originate from BRICS or the African Union. Rather, it was a South African initiative on a national level.

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The strained relationship of South Africa and Morocco is also a contributive factor in the kingdom’s decision to decline the invitation.

According to the same source, South Africa has always shown a primary hostility towards Morocco, and has systematically taken negative and dogmatic positions on the question of the Moroccan Sahara.

 

“Pretoria has thus multiplied, both nationally and within the African Union, its notoriously malicious actions against Morocco’s higher interests.”

It was further stressed that South African diplomacy was known for its light, improvised and unpredictable management when it comes to organizing this kind of event.

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As proof, the source adds, the deliberate and provocative breaches of protocol that marked Morocco’s invitation to this meeting. Worse still, many countries and entities appear to have been invited arbitrarily by the host country, without any real basis or prior consultation with the other member countries of the BRICS Group.

“It had thus become clear that South Africa was going to hijack this event from its nature and purpose, to serve a hidden agenda”, says the same source, noting that Morocco consequently ruled out, from the outset, any favorable reaction to the South African invitation.

With regard to the Kingdom of Morocco’s relationship with the BRICS Group, the Ministry’s authorized source notes that, once again, South African diplomacy has arrogated to itself the right to talk about Morocco and its relationship with the BRICS, without prior consultation, deeming this to be “approximations” that in no way reflect reality.

For the same source, Morocco does indeed maintain substantial and promising bilateral relations with the other four members of the Group, and is even linked to three of them by Strategic Partnership Agreements. However, the Kingdom has never formally applied for membership of the « BRICS » group.

“There is as yet no framework or precise procedures governing the expansion of this grouping,” says the same source.

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The authorized source adds that the future of Morocco’s relations with the grouping as such, whether in their nature or in their scope, “will fall within the general framework and strategic orientations of the Kingdom’s foreign policy, as defined by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God Assist Him.”

“Morocco remains committed to efficient, supportive and renewed multilateralism,” the same source emphasizes, saying that the Kingdom considers that multilateral platforms should not be used to encourage division or interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign States, nor should they create precedents that could, one day or another, turn against their initiators.

 

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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POLITICS

King Mohammed VI Invites Tinubu To Morocco –

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Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI has invited Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu to Morocco after having a telephone conversation with the Nigerian leader. According to a statement  during a phone exchange that took place today.

A statement from the royal palace said that the two leaders discussed the development of bilateral relations between Morocco and Nigeria over the past few years.

The discussion also covered the African-Atlantic Gas Pipeline, which is a structuring project between Nigeria and Morocco that will be a strategic lever for regional integration and socio-economic development for all West African countries.

Initiated in 2016 first by King Mohammed VI and former president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, the pipeline aims to promote regional integration and reinforce Africa’s energy security. Morocco is set to host over 1600 kilometers of the project, which is 5,600 kilometers long in total.

King Mohammed VI has frequently emphasized the importance of the project, reiterating Morocco’s commitment to the pipeline project with Nigeria.In November 2023, during a speech the King gave commemorating the Green March, he stressed the potential benefits that the pipeline could bring not only to Africa but also to Europe.

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“The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline  strategic project is part of that endeavor,” he said, referring to the purpose of the project; to promote regional integration and boost economic growth.
The pipeline is set to connect over 11 countries in the region to benefit from Nigerian gas sources.
Many countries have endorsed the project, including Senegal.

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US reaffirms support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan on Western Sahara

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The US State Department has affirmed the country’s support for Morocco on the Western Sahara issue.

In a statement of support issued on Sunday, the Americans remarked: “There is no change in the clear and consistent U.S. position regarding the Moroccan Sahara issue.”

 

The statement is published on the eve of the visit to Morocco of U.S. Assistant Secretary for North Africa Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Joshua Harris, the State Department stressed that during his talks in Rabat, the U.S. official will reiterate that “there is no change in the clear and consistent U.S. position.”

This new reaffirmation of the consistency of Washington’s position provides a scathing denial of the fallacious allegations conveyed by some Algerian media outlets which have insinuated, following the recent visit to Algiers made by the U.S. official, an alleged change in the U.S. position on the Sahara issue.

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“The United States fully supports UN Personal Envoy de Mistura in facilitating the negotiations process to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution for the Sahara,” the statement points out.

After recalling that the United States “believes a negotiated political solution should be realized without further delay,” the same source underlines that “the outcome of UN-led negotiations – mutually agreed to by the parties and reflecting their commitment to UN efforts in a spirit of realism and compromise – would constitute the final resolution to this issue.”

“In this regard, the United States continues to view Morocco’s Autonomy Proposal as serious, credible, and realistic,” it says.

The visit to Rabat of Deputy Assistant Secretary Joshua Harris will also focus on the means to further strengthen the U.S.-Morocco partnership in addition to a range of regional security priorities, the statement stress

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Morocco, UAE strengthen ties

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King Mohammed VI of Morocco and President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates

Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI and United Arab Emirate’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday engaged in high-level talks aimed at bolstering bilateral cooperation on Monday.

They issued a press release in which both countries highlighted the mutual appreciation and deep-rooted affection.

King Mohammed VI commended President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for successfully overseeing the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) held in Dubai.

The meeting showcased the two countries’ shared commitment to boost ties, with emphasis on a multidimensional partnership across many spheres.

King Mohammed VI underscored Morocco’s strides in infrastructure and structural reforms, outlining a vision of economic and social development through strategic investments.

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On his part, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan hailed Morocco’s potential as an investment hub, acknowledging the nation’s diverse assets and conducive business climate. The leaders affirmed their intent to cultivate innovative partnerships, exploring collaborative ventures that would benefit both nations economically and socially.

They also expressed keen interest in implementing joint action plans based on signed agreements, aiming to pioneer common partnerships in regional and international markets.

King Mohammed VI extended gratitude to President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the UAE’s unwavering support on national issues and Morocco’s development.

The talks concluded with an optimistic outlook, fostering a renewed sense of cooperation and shared aspirations for the future.

Following the talks, the two leaders signed a joint declaration, committing to boosting bilateral ties and cooperation in a wide range of sectors.

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The declaration is titled “Towards an Innovative, Renewed, and Deep-rooted Partnership,” and aims to strengthen ties between the two countries through win-win economic ties.

The declaration’s text indicates that King Mohammed VI’s visit to the UAE came at the invitation of Al Nahyan.

“During their bilateral talks… the two Heads of State reiterated their firm and resolute commitment to elevate the relations between the two countries and their mutual cooperation towards broader horizons, through active economic partnerships serving their shared supreme interests, generating progress and prosperity for the two brotherly peoples,” the declaration reads.

The declaration expresses the two countries’ desire to work towards elevating bilateral ties in economic, commercial, investment, and industrial aspects to the “level of deep political” ties to serve the development goals of both countries.

The two countries also aspire to establish a model of comprehensive and balanced economic and investment cooperation open to the private sector, attracting benefits for both.

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