By Ayele Addis Ambelu

The reaping of the fruits of the wise Policy of HM King Mohammed VI continues. The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, H.E. Mr. Nasser Bourita, and the Ambassador of the UAE to Morocco, H.E. Mr. Al Asri Saeed Ahmed Aldhaheri, inaugurated, on Wednesday November 4, 2020, the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in Laâyoune, Morocco.

This inauguration follows a telephone conversation, last week, between His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who communicated his country’s decision to open a Consulate General in Laâyoune.

His Majesty King Mohammed VI had expressed, in an official statement from the Royal Cabinet on this occasion, “His deep pride in the decision of the Emirates as the first Arab country to open a Consulate General in the southern provinces of the Kingdom”.

Hence, the UAE becomes the first Arab country to open a Consulate General in the southern provinces of Morocco, joining fifteen African countries that have already opened diplomatic representations in the two major cities of the Moroccan Sahara, Laayoune and Dakhla.

Since the end of 2019, sixteen (16) countries have opened diplomatic representations in Laayoune and Dakhla, southern Morocco, including five (5) in October alone. Out of the 16 countries, eight (9) have opened consulates general in the city of Lâayoune, namely of the Union of the Comoros, Gabon, the Central African Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Zambia and lately UAE and seven (7) in the city of Dakhla : Liberia, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

The continuous and constant rise in the number of the Consulates opened in the southern provinces of Morocco is a sign of undeniable support for the Moroccan character of the Sahara. It also increases the instrumental presence, not only of Africa, but of the Arab World in the Moroccan Sahara.

Following the inauguration ceremony of the Consulate, Mr. Bourita declared that the Moroccan people fully appreciate the “historic” decision of the United Arab Emirates to open a Consulate General in Laayoune, in support of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity, a decision that gives concrete substance, at the political level, to an unwavering sovereign position of the UAE in support of Morocco’s territorial integrity.

On this occasion, Mr. Bourita underlined that on the legal level, this decision reflects UAE’s will to establish a structure to defend, at the territorial level, the interests of its citizens, whether individuals or legal entities and provide them with the necessary assistance.

The Moroccan Minister added that the Consulate is, diplomatically speaking, a mechanism for strengthening bilateral cooperation and developing trade, economic, cultural and scientific exchanges between the two countries.

Mr. Bourita said that this event bodes well as it coincides with the celebration by the Moroccan people of the 45th Anniversary of the Green March and the commemoration by the United Arab Emirates of the “Flag Day” which symbolizes national unity and strengthens the sense of belonging to the nation.

The sovereign decision of UAE to open a Consulate General in Laayoune comes at a time full of symbols to clearly and concretely reaffirm its steadfast and unfailing support for Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara and its territorial integrity.

He also underlined that Moroccans will never forget the fine example of this effective solidarity and genuine Arab brotherhood embodied in the decision of late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to instruct his son, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, then 14, to participate in the Glorious Green March and share with the Moroccan people their pride for regaining sovereignty over its Sahara.