Morocco’s King Urges Sahel-Saharan Countries to Pool Efforts for Better Regional Integration

King Mohammed VI has called on countries of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) to enhance further their economic complementarities, inclusive co-development and joint actions against security challenges to speed up regional and continental integration.

In a message addressed to the extraordinary session of the conference of heads of state and government of CEN-SAD convened Saturday in N’Ddjamena, the Moroccan Sovereign said this community has great potential for development.

With a GDP in excess of $1 trillion and a population of some 600 million, the Sahel-Saharan region boasts significant natural resources, has a potential for complementarity and for economies of scale and is an important reservoir for growth, explained the Monarch.

The CEN-SAD has been providing itself with the tools that will enable it to contribute actively to regional and continental integration processes, added the Monarch in his message to the summiteers.

He urged this regional bloc to foster the efficiency of its executive bodies, set up strategies dedicated to human development and the fight against terrorism and adopt a common policy on border.

“These measures should enhance the CEN-SAD role as a preferred interlocutor for the resolution of the crises plaguing our region”, explained King Mohammed VI, stressing the importance of adopting a coordinated approach with the other Regional Economic Communities, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and other stakeholders.

The CEN-SAD’s action with regard to the maintenance of peace and security in the Sahel-Saharan region should be based on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and non-interference in their internal affairs, underlined the King, saying that action should favor dialogue, mediation, good offices and preventive diplomacy.

He said that Morocco remains ready to share its experience in combating terrorism and violent extremism with CEN-SAD African Member States, noting that the Moroccan experience is based on the triad defined by security, religion and the fight against vulnerability and poverty.

Morocco has always sought to ensure the emergence of the Sahel-Saharan region by maintaining fraternal relations with all member countries based on cooperation, solidarity and respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity, said the Monarch, underlining the North African Kingdom’s commitment to South-South cooperation, paving the way for an integration that is conducive to investment and trade and that targets co-development.

He also reiterated Morocco’s commitment to give fresh momentum to the CEN-SAD as a Regional Economic Community of the African Union, stressing the need to strengthen CEN-SAD’s action for the promotion of peace, stability and development in the Sahel-Saharan region.

CEN-SAD was established in February 1998 and Morocco became member of the grouping in 2001. One of its goals is to achieve economic unity through the implementation of the free movement of people and goods in order to make the region a free trade area.

Originally, this bloc was set up to combat desertification, drought and climate change, before becoming a community dedicated to the promotion of cooperation and sustainable development, the preservation and consolidation of peace, security and stability, the fostering of political dialogue and the fight against all forms of organized cross-border crime.

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