Morocco’s King Mohammed VI begins tour of East Africa
The visit began three months after Morocco announced its bid to rejoin to the African Union. (AFP/File)
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Moroccan Royal Palace announced on Tuesday that King Mohammed VI left Casablanca heading to the Republic of Rwanda as part of a royal tour that will also lead the Sovereign to Tanzania and Ethiopia.
This is the first tour by the Moroccan Monarch to East Africa, where Morocco's presence and projection are weak in comparison to West Africa.
The tour comes within the strategy designed by King Mohammed VI in recent years, which aims at diversifying its partnerships, strengthening its ties with the most important players on the African continent and also gaining their support to its position with regards to the Western Sahara dispute.
The visit began three months after Morocco announced its bid to rejoin to the African Union.
Following that message, the majority of the welcomed the return of Morocco and demanded the immediate suspension of the membership of the so-called Polisario-backed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic "SADR," which was illegally admitted in 1984 through the illegitimate use of threats, deceit, coercion and dirty petrodollar money.
Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia recognize the self-proclaimed SADR and maintain diplomatic relationships with it.
Thus, one of the King's goals is to convince these countries to reconsider their stance on the conflict and adopt a neutral stance pending the settlement of the dispute through the political process conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.
In a speech delivered by the King in July during the 17th anniversary for the Throne Day, he said: "Morocco sitting in the same room with the SADR does not provide this entity with any legitimacy; the only international organization that legitimizes statehood is the United Nations."
He added: "Even though the so-called Sahrawi Republic is a full member of the AU, under international law, this recognition neither legitimizes its statehood nor does it confer upon it the legitimacy to represent all the Sahrawi."
He also said that Morocco has to follow the logic that says that a "wise person should put his enemy in front of him, not behind him, and that the only way for a person or entity to avoid the blows of his or her enemies is by watching them closely."
Therefore, Morocco should return to the AU regardless of whether or not the AU decides to suspend the membership of the so-called SADR, he said.