King Mohammed VI, left on Tuesday Casablanca, heading for the Republic of Rwanda, as part of a royal tour that will also lead the Sovereign to Tanzania and Ethiopia.
This is the first tour of the Moroccan monarch to East Africa where Morocco’s presence and projection are weak in comparison to West Africa. The tour comes within the strategy designed by King Mohammed VI in recent years, which aims to diversify its partnerships, strengthen its ties with the most important players on the African continent, and also gain their support to its position with regards to the Western Sahara dispute.
The visit comes three months after Morocco announced its intention to return to the African Union.
“Our friends have long been asking us to return among them so that Morocco may take its natural place within its institutional family. That time has now come,” the King said in a letter to the 27th summit of the African Union held in Kigali, Rwanda, in July.
Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia recognize the self-proclaimed Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and maintain diplomatic relationships with it. Thus, one of the King’s goals is to convince these countries to reconsider their position on the conflict and adopt a neutral stance pending the settlement of the dispute through the political process conducted under the aegis of the United Nations.
The Moroccan monarch’s visit to Rwanda comes four months after the visit that Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, paid to Morocco on June 20-22. Following this visit, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salaheddine Mezouar, said that Morocco would open its embassy in Rwanda by the end of this year.
An important delegation accompany King Mohammed VI during his tour in East Africa, including his advisors, Fouad Ali El Himma and Yasser Znagui.
The delegation also includes Interior minister, Mohamed Hassad, Foreign minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, Endowments and Islamic Affairs minister, Ahmed Taoufik, Economy and Finance minister, Mohamed Boussaid, Agriculture and Fisheries minister, Aziz Akhannouch, and minister delegate to the Foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, as well as several other civil and military personalities.