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Moroccan King to Take Part in Abidjan Summit

Moroccan King to Take Part in Abidjan Summit

Monday, 27 November, 2017 - 08:45
King Mohammed VI of Morocco reviews a guard of honour at the National palace during his state visit to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, November 19, 2016

Moroccan Ministry of the Royal Household, Protocol and Chancellery announced on Sunday the participation of King Mohammed VI in the African Union-European Union Summit in Ivory Coast.

Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita told Asharq Al-Awsat that Morocco's "empty seat policy" has come to en end, and those who thought "Morocco's seat in Abidjan summit will remain empty is going to be disappointed."

The 5th African Union-European Union Summit is scheduled to take place Abidjan November 29-30, where the leaders will discuss the future of EU-Africa relations, and focus on investing in youth.

The King's participation in the summit indicates that Morocco intends to continue its policy in participating in summits and conferences to "defend its historic rights and unity in face of its separatist enemies" known as the Sahrawi Democratic Republic unilaterally declared by Polisario Front in 1976, backed by Algeria and Libya.

Rabbat announced that the King's participation in the summit is not a recognition of the Sahrawi Democratic Republic.

Earlier, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini announced that the African Union is responsible for the participation of Sahrawi Democratic Republic. She reiterated EU doesn't recognize the Sahrawi Republic.

African diplomatic sources in Abidjan stated that the King Mohammed's participation is an important event, just as his participation in the previous summit in Addis Ababa.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that after absence for over three decades, Morocco returned to the African Union.

Sources of the EU-African summit believe the King's personal participation pulled the rug from underneath Polisario that wanted to diplomatically take advantage of Morocco's objection to its participation in the summit and its withdrawal from the participation. Polisario hoped that through this, it can guarantee to achieve its goals with the support of Algeria.

Rabbat's participation in the Abidjan summit maintained the spirits that prevailed over the Addis Ababa summit especially with the majority of African countries welcoming the return of Morocco to its African family.

An African diplomat working in the African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa indicated that Morocco's participation is an "additive value" to the Union and helps in uniting the continent.

King Mohammed VI arrived Sunday in Ivory Coast for a two-day friendship and work visit. The King was welcomed upon arrival at the airport by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and the two heads of state.

King Mohammed and President Ouattara are expected to hold a meeting Monday at the presidential palace in Abidjan and will both inaugurate joint projects including a hunting village and vocational training center.

King Mohammed had previously visited Abidjan for four times between 2013 and 2016.

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