Morocco appreciates Bahrain’s support for its territorial integrity, sovereignty over its Sahara: Ambassador

Morocco’s Ambassador to Bahrain Mustapha Benkhiyi has stressed his country’s appreciation of Bahrain’s steadfast and supportive position for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara.


He also highlighted the strong political and moral support that Bahrain has been providing to Morocco in defending its top national cause, the Moroccan Sahara, within the framework of United Nations and regional and international organizations and forums.


Morocco highly values Bahrain’s position that boosts Rabat’s pride in and attachment to the solid and promising fraternal relations of the two countries steadily developing at all levels thanks to the wise directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the ambassador told Bahrain News Agency (BNA) in an interview.


Benkhiyi affirmed the creativity of Moroccan policy in resolving conflicts in a peaceful manner and highlughted that the comprehensive development process in the Moroccan Sahara confirms the importance of the region as part of the integral Moroccan territory.


He said that Bahrain-Morocco relations are heading towards closer cooperation, solidarity and consultations to achieve a unique and strategic partnership that will achieve new gains in significance and importance.


In fact, ties between Bahrain and Morocco represent a model for fraternal relations based on cordiality and loyalty guided by the wisdom and the insightfulness of HM King Hamad and HM King Mohammed VI and the commitment to strengthen and develop them regularly in all their aspects, including the economy, he added.


The two countries were able to raise their economic exchanges to $120 million. Bahrain’s imports from Morocco reached $11 million while exports to Morocco were $110 million, thus making Morocco the 29th international trading partner of Bahrain.


Moroccans are partners in 439 companies in Bahrain while Bahraini investments in Morocco are mainly by institutions, notably Gulf Finance House and Naseej in the real estate and Al Baraka Group in Islamic banking.


Regarding Morocco’s 45th anniversary of the Green March on Friday, the ambassador said the occasion has distinctive symbolic connotations that are evident in the fact that it enabled Morocco to regain its Sahara in a peaceful manner and with intense popular participation in response to the call of the King and the homeland.


The march provides Morocco with a solid pivot in defending its top national cause and strengthens its status as a pioneering and innovative country in adopting and proposing peaceful solutions. It is now turning into a source of inspiration to launch a permanent and comprehensive development process, the diplomat added.


This highly valued anniversary comes in the midst of unprecedented gains and achievements made by Morocco in the Moroccan Sahara thanks to the wise leadership of HM King Mohammed VI and his personal involvement in Morocco’s continental and regional policies, which was decisive in making several countries develop or change their position to support the Kingdom in the defense of the Moroccan Sahara issue, he said.


The ambassador said that the Moroccan Sahara today has hundreds of development projects that have been completed, benefiting more than 500, 000 people, 370,000 in the Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra region and 150,000 in the Oued Eddahab Region.


The projects cover all areas, including the establishment of centers for international brands and the modernization of the urban sphere.


The region will also have more than 300 new development projects being prepared for launch, in addition to huge open strategic workshops related to the infrastructure, especially in the marine and land transportation sectors, energy and agriculture.


He pointed to Morocco’s relentless efforts to transform the Moroccan Sahara into a highly attractive economic development hub thanks to a special model, with a total value exceeding $ 8 billion, assigned to it by HM King Mohammed VI to move the Sahara to the stage of creating wealth opportunities for everyone.


The Moroccan Sahara will not be transformed into an investment and tourism destination only, but also into an attractive region for regional and international conferences, he added.


Yet, the ambassador said that the most important manifestations of the recent accomplishments were political.


UN Security Council Resolution No. 2548 of October 30, 2020, which was clear in identifying the real parties to the regional conflict over the Moroccan Sahara, and its commitment to a realistic, pragmatic and sustainable political solution based on consensus, on continuing the political progress by organizing round tables with the participation of all concerned parties who attended the previous two discussions, and on emphasizing the reality, practicality and seriousness of the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco in 2007, he said.


A major achievement that must also be emphasized is that 16 countries have opened diplomatic representations in the southern regions of Morocco, including nine general consulates in Laayoune, the capital of the Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra region, and seven general consulates in the city of Dakhla, the capital of the Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab region.


The opening by countries of diplomatic representations is a sovereign decision consistent with the international law and actually reflects these countries’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara and a realistic and irreversible international forward-looking move that will continue with similar steps by other countries, he added.


At the same time, there are more revocations of the recognition of the breakaway republic, such as the case of Bolivia that dropped in January 2020 its recognition of this fictitious entity, the ambassador said.


Bolivia’s move takes the number of countries that have revoked their recognition of the Sahrawi breakaway to 51, which means that the total number of countries that do not recognize it are 164, and this figure represents 85% of the world’s total number of countries, according to the diplomat.


In another diplomatic achievement, Morocco’s legal jurisdiction has been extended over all its maritime areas to the far south and this includes the waters of the Moroccan Sahara under two laws that entered into force on March 30, 2020, relating to the delineation of the borders of its territorial waters and the determination of the exclusive economic zone.


The two laws are within the framework of accommodating the spatial identity of Morocco through updating the national legal texts related to Moroccan maritime areas and borders.


This step came a few months after the entry into force of the partnership agreement in sustainable marine fishing between Morocco and the European Union, which includes the Moroccan Sahara.


The accord came only a few months after the entry into effect of the agricultural agreement between Morocco and the European Union and that also includes the region.


The United States has since 2017 included the Moroccan Sahara in the aid program it provides to Morocco, the ambassador said.


Source: Bahrain News Agency