Foreign Ministers from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad expressed, Saturday in Marrakech, the adherence of their countries to HM King Mohammed VI’s international initiative to enable Atlantic Ocean access for Sahel States, which offers great opportunities for the economic transformation of the region as a whole. In a joint communiqué of the Ministerial Coordination Meeting, organized on Saturday at the invitation of Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, the top diplomats of these African countries expressed the adherence of their countries to this initiative of regional and international scope. They underlined the strategic importance of this initiative, which is part of His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s active solidarity with brotherly African countries in general and the Sahel in particular, and which offers great opportunities for the economic transformation of the region as a whole, in that it will contribute to the acceleration of regional connectivity and trade flows, and to shared prosperity in the Sahel region. In this regard, they commended the inclusive and participatory approach in the fulfillment of this initiative, affirming their common ambition to consolidate cooperative relations through joint multi-sectoral, structuring and innovative partnerships, reflecting the values of South-South cooperation and co-development. The Foreign ministers agreed to set up a National Task Force in each country, in order to prepare and propose the modalities of operationalization of this initiative. They also agreed to finalize, at the earliest, the proposals to be submitted to the High Attention of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and his brothers the Heads of States of Burkina Faso, the Republic of Chad, the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Niger. Following this meeting, the Ministers expressed their gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI for this initiative and for the Kingdom of Morocco’s offer to make its road, port and rail infrastructures available to the Sahel countries, with a view to strengthen their participation in international trade. The Royal Initiative to enable the access of the Sahel countries to the Atlantic Ocean was unveiled in the Royal Speech to the Nation on the 48th anniversary of the Green March. In that speech, the Sovereign said: “I therefore suggest that we launch an international initiative to enable the Sahel countries to have access to the Atlantic Ocean”, adding that “Morocco is willing to put its road, port and rail infrastructure at the disposal of these sister countries”. “The success of such an initiative, however, hinges on upgrading infrastructure in the Sahel countries and seeking to connect it to transport and communication networks existing in the region”, HM the King underlined.
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