Full text of King Mohammed VI to the 2nd EU-Africa Summit hosted by Lisbon

Lisbon, Dec. 8 – Following is the full text of the speech of King Mohammed VI to the 2nd EU-Africa Summit in Lisbon, read out on his behalf by Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi.

Praise be to God                Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Mr. President,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me pleasure to address this message to the Second Summit of African and EU Heads of State and Government, which is an important step in the process of consolidating dialogue and solidarity between our two continents.

I should like to extend my sincere thanks to the government and people of Portugal for their efforts to ensure the success of our Summit.

Our Cairo Summit, in the year 2000, set the stage for an innovative, ambitious partnership between our two continents. It reflected our firm belief in our common destiny and in the inter-dependence of African and European interests and concerns.

We set ourselves the target of making the Africa-EU partnership the linchpin of our solidarity in facing the challenges of globalization. We wanted our partnership to contribute to the integration of international exchange relations and to help us foster closer cultural ties. We also wanted to protect the African-European partnership against all trends which are incompatible with the principles of mutual understanding, in order to avoid distrust or exclusion, and to promote, instead, the aspirations and ambitions we had agreed upon.

Seven years later, the Lisbon Summit is offering us the opportunity to take stock of our achievements, pave the way for a strategic, promising and fruitful partnership, and adopt a practical plan of action to enhance our consultations and streamline our policies.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa is currently facing new regional and international challenges relating to the threat of terrorism, the disruptions caused by globalization and the complexities of migration. However, most African countries are doing all they can, using endogenous means to implement reforms and rise to the challenges confronting them.

This dynamic reform process, as well as the economic performances achieved, are a strong signal from Africa to its partners to let them know that Africa is on the move, that it is determined to embrace change, and that it seeks to play its full-fledged role in the new world balance.

In addition to exerting these efforts, Africa has to face challenges relating to poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, pandemics and the environment. It also suffers from the consequences of several armed conflicts and hotbeds of tension in Africa which severely undermine its capabilities and divert its resources away from development targets.

It is therefore our duty to support African countries in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution, and to assist them in reconstruction efforts.

Two challenges are particularly serious: the temptation to balkanize national entities, and the provision of support to separatist movements and fictitious entities which are irrelevant in today’s world of strong blocs and coalitions.

The instability resulting from such a situation represents a breeding ground for trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings, and for the establishment of terrorist networks which threaten stability in the entire region.

To face this situation, all partners should first address the threat looming over the sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity of African countries. They are also called upon to tackle the pressing challenges confronting Africa.
Preserving national unity and promoting regional integration in secure, stable environments are essential to enhance solidarity, reduce tensions and overcome disputes. The latter are often anachronistic because they date back to times long gone by; they can be resolved only through dialogue and consultations carried out in an open, realistic spirit.

Achieving such lofty goals requires commitment to good neighborliness, mutual respect, and avoiding all acts that are likely to offend national sentiment.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

True to the spirit of the longstanding ties it enjoys with its African environment, and in keeping with its commitment to South-South cooperation, the Kingdom of Morocco has sought to develop mutually profitable relations with African countries, based on trust and solidarity.

In the last few years, I have been to several sister African nations to hold talks with their leaders, to consider prospects for exchange and complementarity with African countries, and to serve our common interests, particularly with respect to sustainable development. In this regard, Morocco has sought to foster the principles of participation, solidarity and proximity, drawing inspiration from the National Initiative for Human Development, which I launched in the spring of 2005.

The positive results obtained in this regard, and the projects carried out in cooperation with several African countries, are a source of deep satisfaction. It is our firm intention to pursue this form of participatory action which promotes the sharing of experiences and know-how with sister African nations, as well as the implementation of projects designed to improve human development indicators and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Morocco is determined to strengthen exchange relations as part of an effective, solidarity-based triangular cooperation, from which all African countries can benefit, and in which the European Union would play a key role.
Thanks to its geographic location, its history and its cultural traditions, the Kingdom of Morocco has always fostered dialogue and interaction. Today, it is giving concrete substance to African solidarity and is seeking to promote cooperation between Europe and Africa.

I should like, in this respect, to commend the promising initiative of the President of the French Republic, my dear friend His Excellency Nicolas Sarkozy, which calls for an innovative Euro-African partnership, of which the Mediterranean would be the axis and the main pillar. Thanks to this initiative, our partnership is likely to gain strategic momentum.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Environmental problems are among the main challenges confronting Africa. Growing forest depletion, creeping desertification, soil degradation, drought, poor access to water and climate change compound poverty and threaten population stability. This Summit should therefore enable us to give new momentum to our partnership, commensurate with the challenges of sustainable development and climate change. Just as important is the need to enhance African capabilities to control these phenomena and restrict their harmful effects.

Dedicated action is needed because of the interdependent nature of environmental problems and development requirements. Such an approach can contribute to greater population stability and better control of migrant movements.

Having increased significantly with globalization, migration has special meaning in the Euro-African environment, where it is basically a reflection of economic and demographic disparities between the two continents.

Concerted policies for the management and control of migration issues, using a comprehensive, integrated approach, would enable us address migration-related concerns and tensions, and at the same time make the most of migrants’ contributions to development on both sides of the Mediterranean.

The Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development, held in Morocco in July 2006, made it possible for consultations between our two continents on this highly sensitive issue to gain a firm footing. It also showed that the proper response to current migration issues cannot be individual, or even bilateral, much less exclusively security-driven. The response has to be collective, trans-regional, multi-dimensional, future-oriented and, above all, inspired by humane considerations.

We do hope the next Euro-African conference, to be hosted by France in the second semester of 2008, will lead to a greater implementation of the Rabat Action Plan, and that it will address the broad range of issues inherent in migration.

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The challenges we face and the great potential of the Africa-Europe relationship offer a historic opportunity to lay down an innovative framework for partnership between a united Europe and an emerging Africa; a solid, equitable partnership based on mutual respect and shared interests.

Africa and the European Union should see to it globalization becomes a tool for development, not a cause of marginalization. Sustainable development, trade and regional integration should be key areas in Euro-African cooperation mechanisms.

It will be helpful, in this respect, to take into account the regional dimension in Africa, and to attach special importance to the rich, diversified experience the EU has had with each African region, through such mechanisms as the Cotonou Agreement, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the European Neighborhood Policy.

Beyond a comprehensive, strategic approach to Africa as a whole, we should seek, through the operational instruments of our partnership, to give special importance to the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), which are the central element of – and prerequisite for – regional integration.

We hope the Economic Partnership Agreements the European Union is currently negotiating with each African region will make it possible to fulfill the aspirations of African nations.
 
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the years to come, our partnership should be based on a new, dynamic approach to political dialogue and consultations between our two continents, for the purpose of promoting peace and security, fostering good governance standards, and strengthening cooperation in economic, social, technical, human and cultural sectors.

Our combined efforts to achieve the above objectives require regular follow-up – both technical and political – so that the Joint Strategy and the Action Plan to be adopted by our conference may achieve their full potential.

Your Excellencies,
The way forward is now clearly charted, and we do hope that, by the time we convene our next Summit, our special partnership would have enabled us to make significant progress.

Thank you.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.     
             Mohammed VI
             King of Morocco
The Royal Residence, Guelmim
30 November 2007

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