Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch highlighted the Royal Vision in strengthening Africa’s relations with its various partners, during the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit. Speaking at the first plenary session, Akhannouch, who is representing HM the King at this international conclave, noted that the Sovereign “was the first to stress the need for a change of approach towards the African continent on the part of its traditional partners.” He recalled, in this respect, that this orientation was expressed on several occasions, notably in HM the King’s speech delivered at the opening of the Morocco-Côte d’Ivoire Economic Forum in 2014. In that message, the Sovereign had stated that Africa “does not need assistance so much as mutually profitable partnerships. Africa needs human and social development projects much more than it needs humanitarian aid.” Akhannouch further reiterated Morocco’s “permanent attachment” to its relations with various strategic partners, noting that the Kingdom, under the enlightened leadership of HM the King, has worked to diversify its strategic partnerships. “The status and future of the African continent, in the light of this royal vision, has become a key priority for Morocco’s foreign policy,” he told the plenary session, which was attended by several African Heads of State and Government. This royal vision stems from the fact that Africa has enormous human and natural potential and legitimately aspires to define its role and interests independently and sovereignly in its relations with the rest of the world, he noted. “Consequently, the countries of our continent have the right, in complete independence, to determine the nature of the strategic partnerships they wish to forge with the various international groupings and actors, in a manner that takes into account their vital interests.” Referring to the excellent diplomatic relations that Morocco has maintained with Russia since the 18th century, the Head of Government noted that these relations have been considerably strengthened since the visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to Moscow in 2016. “During this visit, a deep strategic partnership was established, covering a wide range of areas of cooperation, including agriculture, energy, fisheries, science and technology, culture and higher education.” Akhannouch said he was honored to represent HM the King at the 2nd Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg on July 27 and 28, noting that this year’s event “reflects the Russian Federation’s determination to strengthen friendly relations and constructive cooperation with the participating African countries, to support their efforts to achieve comprehensive development, and to effectively address the various challenges they face.” This Summit is taking place in a turbulent and uncertain international context, marked by instability and the escalation of conflicts and tensions in several regions of the world, he noted. In this context, the Head of Government outlined the essential and fundamental constants that underpin “Morocco’s position in the face of the current crises.” According to him, these include respect for the territorial integrity of United Nations Member States, compliance with the principles of international law and the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as the use of peaceful means to settle disputes and avoid the use of force. “In this context, and in view of the challenges posed by the Ukrainian crisis to food and energy security, particularly on the African continent, the Kingdom of Morocco believes in the need to intensify efforts and encourage international and regional cooperation” to meet the challenges of this crisis, remove obstacles and build a future capable of ensuring food and energy security for all countries on the continent, Akhannouch continued. He also expressed Morocco’s hope that this summit “will be able to strengthen these relations and launch innovative areas of cooperation capable of promoting development and consolidating the security and stability of our African continent, as well as opening up broader horizons for the future of African-Russian relations.” Akhannouch arrived in Saint Petersburg on Thursday to represent His Majesty King Mohammed VI at the second Russia-Africa Summit. The Moroccan delegation participating in the summit also includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, as well as Moroccan Ambassador to Russia Lotfi Bouchaara.
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