On Wednesday, the 25th of April, our delegation visited the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations. We were cordially welcomed by two staff members and led into the conference room where they offered us biscuits and tea.
The first speaker was Mr. Lofti Bouchaara. He welcomed us and gave us an introduction about his topic, disarmament issues, where he highlighted the current frustration within the United Nations: since a large amount of time had been spent negotiating on resolutions that had proved to be useless due to the lack of political will and confidence between groups. The most discussed topic during the round of questions were nuclear weapons. When asked about Morocco’s opinion regarding the way the United States negotiated with India and threatened Iran, Mr. Bouchaara reminded us that he could not speak on behalf of the United States, which had taken a political decision on a very complicated area. Another interesting question that was asked was whether there was any relation between the proliferation of Iran and the proliferation to other Arab states to build reactors for peaceful purposes. Mr. Bouchaara underlined that he personally did not want to make such a link. The last question referred to Morocco’s role as a bridge and facilitator, and Mr. Bouchaara explained that usually countries came to Morocco and asked for its support. However, in order to be able to accomplish this work as a mediator, there must be political will from the different counterparts.
Our second speaker was Ms. Fatima Baroudi, Morocco’s representative in the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly. Ms. Baroudi gave us a briefing about Morocco’s position towards Human Rights and development. The key documents for this topic are the Mudawana (2004), which is the new family law and aims for the empowerment of women, and the Reform of the Nationality Code (2007) which for example equals rights and responsibility within the couple. Morocco is entirely committed to the construction of a new society without forgetting its roots. She highlighted one of the most ambitious programs that Morocco has ever engaged on, “L´Initiative Nationale pour le developpment humain”, the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH). During the time for questions some points raised related to mentality and the slow path in which things usually changed. Ms. Baroudi explained that although the efforts made by the government were large, the mentality did not change overnight, especially in traditional rural areas.
Mr. Abdellah Benmellouk, Morocco’s representative in the 2nd Committee, briefed us about economic and environmental issues. After an introduction about the different areas of work of the United Nations on the topics above, he talked about the initiative by France and the European Union to establish a “United Nations Environmental Organization” in order to replace the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Mr. Benmellouk pointed out Morocco’s interest in diversification and renewable energies, today only two percent of Morocco’s energy supply, but expected to reach up to twenty percent by 2020. Another important point was the role Morocco plays in globalization and migration trying to achieve dialogue, protecting Human Rights and helping the Least Developed and Land Locked Developing Countries.
Then Mr. Karim Medrek, Legal Counselor, spoke about the fight against International Terrorism. It has been on Morocco’s agenda for many years and is one of the national priorities. Morocco so far has ratified 12 of the 13 conventions, the last one being debated in Parliament at the time of the briefing. He made clear that Morocco could only fight terrorism when cooperating with partners such as the European Union, France, Germany, the United States and Arab countries. Moreover, Morocco wants to fight terrorism together with its neighbors as Morocco and the whole Maghreb region are a target of terrorism. The Moroccan government believes that there is no excuse for terrorism.
The final words were spoken by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations, His Excellence Mr. Abdesselem Arifi. He warmly welcomed us again at the Moroccan Mission and explained in French Morocco’s position on Western Sahara. The Deputy Ambassador affirmed that Morocco was answering the call of the Security Council to find a peaceful and fair solution to this ongoing conflict. The Autonomy Plan that Morocco had been presenting shortly after the meeting offered comprehensive autonomy to Western Sahara inside international legality following the German and Spanish models. The plan answered the needs of the population and offered a sincere will to solve the conflict. It comprised three main points: First, it plans a process of consultation of the population affected and political parties involved, secondly, it foresees a local parliament and local judiciary for Western Sahara, and finally, it should be seen as a strategic bridge towards the solution of a national conflict that will broaden the cooperation between all of Morocco’s neighbors, especially the European Union.
We kindly thank Mr. Karim Medrek for the organization of this unique morning at the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations as well as all the speakers for their precious contributions.