Morocco’s ambassador to Portugal, Othmane Bahnini, called on European countries to step out of their comfort zone and take a constructive stance to end the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, highlighting the ‘very broad’ international support for the Kingdom’s territorial integrity.
” Today, support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and, consequently, for the autonomy plan proposed by the Kingdom to put an end to the artificial regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara is subject to very broad approval. , as evidenced by solemn and recent statements from several states around the world, including the United States, France, Germany, Spain, the Gulf and African countries, ” Mr Bahnini said in an interview with the Portuguese magazine ” Pais Economico ‘ ‘in the May issue.
This dynamic has resulted in, among other things, the sovereign choice of almost thirty states to open diplomatic missions in the Moroccan cities of Laayoune and Dakhla, the largest cities in the southern provinces of the Kingdom, the Moroccan diplomat noted, adding that this’ “positive dynamic would have benefit from being followed and supported by Europe as a Union “.
” Europe today, more than ever, needs a stable and prosperous environment. “That is why the country should get out of its comfort zone, take a more constructive stance and support the only credible and realistic proposal, namely the autonomy plan proposed by Morocco,” he said. He emphasized and emphasized the important role, as neighboring countries, Portugal, can help resolve this dispute, which has lasted far too long.
As for the relations between Rabat and Lisbon, Mr Bahnini described them as “historic, friendly and close”, specifying that relations between the two countries “are called to multiply and strengthen even more in the coming years”.
Morocco’s ambition is to raise the base of its relations with Portugal to the level of a “geostrategic reference” relationship, he said, assuring that the two countries are driven by the desire to give bilateral relations an “impetus that stands in a reasonable in relation to common ambitions “. through the exploration of new opportunities that promote the creation of synergies in the form of value chains, the promotion of investment and triangular cooperation ”.
In this sense, the Moroccan diplomat noted, the next High Level Meeting (HLM) between Morocco and Portugal should confirm ” the extraordinary dimension that Morocco wants to give to its relationship with Portugal by making the partnership between the two countries a strategic partnership with the ambition of placing Portugal in the Top 10 of its economic and commercial partners.
After highlighting the “remarkable strengthening” of economic relations between Morocco and Portugal in recent years, Mr Bahnini recalled that Morocco has become Portugal’s first customer outside Europe and the United States, ahead of China and Angola. , and Portugal’s leading trading partner in the Arab country. the world and Africa.
On the Moroccan side, exports to Portugal have also seen a significant increase of more than 30% in 2021, he argued, adding that the Kingdom is attracting more and more interest in terms of investment. large Portuguese companies, some of which have recently made major investments in, inter alia, the automotive sector (Simoldes), renewable energy (fusion fuel) and the aquaculture industry (Mediterranean aquaculture).
This dynamic, the Ambassador pointed out, should continue to consolidate the “enormous potential for economic complementarity” in several areas, noting that the establishment of the Morocco-Portugal Economic Council in November last year, whose mission is to stimulate cross-investment, partnership and increasing trade is part of this logic of strengthening economic relations.
LR / MAP