Moroccan diplomacy has yet suffered another humiliation during the just concluded Ministerial Meeting on African Development (TICAD) held in Maputo from 23rd to 25th August 2017. This was due to Morocco delegation’s “improper” attitude that was seen as being “disrespectful” by other African countries that rallied against Morocco; according to diplomatic sources at the meeting.
It all started when Morocco with complicity from Japan, a co-organizer of the TICAD meeting, tried by all means to block the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) out of the meeting. Upon seeing the efforts aimed at preventing a member of the Pan African organization from participating in the ministerial meeting, other African countries mobilized themselves to reaffirm their commitment and full respect of the African Union decisions and to remind members of SADR’s full rights as full AU founding member, to take part in all meetings, activities and events organized under this framework, in accordance with decision no 877 adopted by the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in January 2015 as well as decision no 942 of January 2017; according to the same source.
The African countries therefore unanimously made it categorically clear that decisions and principles that govern the AU cannot not under any circumstances be bended or compromised. The solidarity and determination demonstrated by the African countries finally yielded fruit when Japan realized that without respecting the decision made by AU Heads of State, the TICAD Meeting could not proceed.
About fifteen Moroccan delegates led by the Foreign Affairs Minister, spared no effort to block the Sahrawian delegation from the meeting, up to the extent of going physical against the members of this delegation. The Moroccan delegation even had the audacity of assuming police powers on the Mozambican territory, contrary to any practice, up to the extent of trying to prevent the Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister from accessing the meeting venue when he tried to personally accompany the Sahrawian delegation, after an agreement was reached between the AU, the Japanese Minister and the host country.
The behavior of the Moroccan delegation infuriated the Moroccan Minister who in turn ordered his security agencies to keep the Moroccan delegation out of the Conference room. The Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister suffered the embarrassment when he had to plead with Mozambican security operatives to allow him into the venue. When he was finally granted access, Mr. Bourita disrespectfully tried to interrupt the proceedings of the Opening ceremony, which was also attended by the Mozambican President, by raising and shaking a placard in the hope of being granted a point of order. The Mozambican Minister vehemently and unequivocally declined with a stern signal that caught the attention of all the members.
The resigned Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister then single-handedly without any member of his delegation quietly attended the meeting until the end without uttering a word and leaving the Moroccan seats empty throughout the meeting.
The “Improper” attitude of the Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister which was seen as “disrespectful” of the host country and its President was sharply criticized by the entire delegation, including Morocco’s arch-supporters; stated the same source.
During the press conference at the end of the meeting, which was jointly held with his Japanese counterpart, the Mozambican Foreign Affairs Minister, responding to a question about the incident, emphasized that “some members ought to have known that the meeting was not the place to solve political misunderstandings. They thought they could use violence, perhaps wrongly thinking that Mozambique was a banana republic and therefore could risk interrupting the meeting”.
Sahrawian participation in this partnership meeting which, in addition to Japan brings together several countries like USA, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Thailand, Indonesia as well as several regional and international organizations such as European Union, United Nations, World Bank, UNDP and IMF is a landmark victory for SADR; according to the diplomats at the same meeting who believe that SADR’s participation is the firm recognition of the Sahrawian people and an assertion of their full rights to take part in the activities of the AU like any other African country.
The Secretary General of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Noureddine Ayadi led the Algerian delegation at TICAD meeting.