King Mohammed VI, mastermind of Morocco’s foreign policy inroads
Morocco has during the past two decades strengthened its foothold and won support for its crucial causes from old and new allies as it marches on a steady diplomatic track engineered by King Mohammed VI. The foreign policy achievements are reflective of the growing clout of the country and its credibility and growing soft power, notably in Africa.
King Mohammed VI put Morocco on the path of supporting global peace efforts and multilateralism contributing to the country’s credibility and international reputation.
The King paid visits to global powers including the US, China, Russia, India, as Morocco aspires to diversify its partnerships while cooperating closely with traditional partners. He visited over 40 African countries and fostered ties with Gulf sisterly monarchies and in 2020 signed a landmark deal to resume ties with Israel and kick off cooperation at all levels.
Since 2008, Morocco has earned an advanced status with the EU with whom trade and political ties kept growing and survived attempts by Algerian-backed separatist to undermine them.
Precious gains on Sahara issue
The year 2020 was a landslide in the history of the Algeria-fabricated Sahara conflict. The recognition by the US of Morocco’s sovereignty over the territory sent shockwaves and ushered a momentum in favor of Morocco’s territorial integrity. The move consolidated gains made by Morocco which now has 27 nations having consulates in the Sahara territory.
After the US, Spain-the former colonial power, pulled the rag from under Algeria’s and Polisario’s feet by recognizing Morocco’s historical rights to its territorial integrity. Madrid supported the autonomy plan ending months of diplomatic freeze adding a final nail in the coffin of Algeria-sponsored separatism.
The return of Morocco to the African Union in late 2017 was a watershed that further underscored Africa’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the Sahara.
Many observers now think that the days of the Polisario within the African Union are numbered as many countries consider the presence of such a separatist group based in Algeria as an anomaly.
In Latin America, Morocco has stepped up its diplomatic efforts, winning the support of countries that were until recently supporters of the Algerian-funded separatists’ thesis in the Sahara.
Over the last years, support for the Algerian-sponsored separatist thesis in the Moroccan Sahara has been waning as 43 countries have withdrawn their recognition of the SADR entity out of 80 that previously recognized it in a Cold War context.
Strong engagement in multilateral efforts
Morocco, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, has been at the forefront of international efforts to address common challenges notably those relating to peace and security, climate change and migration.
This was clearly expressed through Morocco’s efforts to create conditions favorable for international consensus by hosting and initiating landmark conferences such as the UN Climate Summit COP22 in 2016 and the migration summit in Marrakech.
In the same vein, Morocco’s Chairmanship of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum which aims at enhancing international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism is a step in the direction of joining global forces against calamities that threaten international peace and stability.
The north African country has given example by contributing to UN peace keeping missions with more than 60,000 soldiers taking part in 17 UN operations across the globe.
Special attention is also attached by Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI to Africa, where he was appointed as African leader on migration advocating a paradigm shift that breaks away with the security-approach to human mobility.
South-south cooperation has been a pillar of Morocco’s foreign policy through win-win partnerships addressing the African continent’s pressing needs notably in terms of food security, agricultural development, migration and training.
Recently, Morocco offered African countries 550,000 in a fertilizer relief program that aims to help African countries deal with a surge in prices in the international market.
The move follows similar initiatives during covid when Morocco dispatched vital aid to many African countries in the height of Covid-19.