Morocco: After Madagascar King Mohammed VI to head to Nigeria, Zambia
Moroccan monarch King Mohamed VI will kick off next month another African tour to take him to Nigeria and Zambia, two countries still supporting the Front Polisario, reports say.
Jeune Afrique citing sources close to the Moroccan diplomacy notes that Mohamed VI is expected in Abuja, Nigeria to visit President Muhammadu Buhari. The Moroccan monarch confirmed his Nigeria trip in his Saturday November 26 interview.
Both leaders met on the sidelines of the COP22 summit in Marrakech and during the Africa Action Summit dedicated to actions against climate change on the continent.
Nigeria in 1984 under Buhari (after ascending to power in a coup) vowed its recognition for the Front Polisario. Ties between the two countries under Good Jonathan suffered frustration.
In July Morocco announced plans to build a giant fertilizer plant in Nigeria after the Moroccan king dispatched his Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita and head of General Directorate of Studies and General Document, Yassine Mansouri to normalise ties with African giant.
Severely affected by the fall of oil price Nigeria is looking to diversify its economy and has opted for the development of its agriculture sector.
The endorsement of the second largest African economy is also vital for Morocco’s future presence in the African Union.
Following the Abuja stop, the royal aircraft will land in Lusaka, Zambia. Rabat has already secured a favourable ground. Zambian Foreign Minister Harry Kaaba, in July was quick to announce withdrawal of Zambia’s support for separatist movement. Lusaka since 1990s, with the first President Dr Kenneth Kaunda has endorsed the separatist group. The former President was the first African leader to visit Sahrawi camps.
Kaaba’s statement contradicted the Southern African country’s stance on the Sahara issue. Prime Minister Edgar Lungu in October warmly welcomed head of the Front Polisairo’s foreign policy, Mohamed Salem Ould Salek. In February, he also received letter of credentials of new Saharawi ambassador, Brahim Salam El Ami to whom he underscored Lusaka’s full endorsement for independence, Jeune Afrique reports.