DRC Reaffirms Support for Autonomy Plan within the framework of Morocco’s Territorial Integrity

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala, reaffirmed, Thursday in Marrakech, the support of his country to the Autonomy plan in the Sahara within the framework of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco. In a joint statement issued after his talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Mr. Nasser Bourita, on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Mr. Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala reiterated the support of the DRC to the Autonomy Plan in the Sahara within the framework of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco, reason for which it has appointed a Consul General in Dakhla, and calls on all peace-loving and justice-loving States to encourage it. In the same regard, he reaffirmed the DRC’s support for the search for a lasting solution by preserving the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco, under the exclusive aegis of the United Nations and in compliance with decision 693 of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union of July 2018 recognizing such exclusivity to the UN with a view to settling this regional conflict over the Sahara. The minister praised the Kingdom’s contribution to the efforts made both by the Congolese authorities and by the international community for the promotion of peace, democracy, security and development in the DRC. For his part, Mr. Bourita, speaking on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco, paid tribute to the initiatives and actions carried out by His Excellency President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, during his mandate at the head of the African Union (AU) in order to consolidate the security, independence, territorial integrity and unity of all African States and of the entire continent. He also commended the contribution of the DRC to the efforts of the international community for the promotion of peace and regional stability, as well as the confidence it enjoys as an actor committed to security and the fight against terrorism and armed groups in the subregion. Mr. Bourita praised the efforts of His Excellency President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo aimed at establishing peace and security in eastern DRC, welcoming his accession to the East African Community (EAC). The Moroccan minister expressed the Kingdom’s full support for the Nairobi process under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, current EAC Chairman, with a view to neutralizing the negative forces which create insecurity in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the Great Lakes sub-region and to restore peace there. He called on the AU and the UN to support the efforts of the leaders of the East African Community, in particular by being actively involved in the rapid implementation of the peace plan drawn up by the Heads of State of Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and DRC. The two ministers also underlined the importance of strengthening communication and coordination at the various multilateral platforms, such as the AU and the UN, in order to make the diplomatic actions undertaken at the level of these bodies more consistent with the official positions adopted by the two countries on various issues of common interest. In the same spirit, the two parties voiced their commitment to supporting, in a concerted and mutual manner, Moroccan and Congolese candidacies at the level of regional and international organizations. In this regard, Mr. Bourita thanked his Congolese counterpart for the support provided by the DRC to the election of the Kingdom of Morocco as a member of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union for the period 2022-2025 and expressed willingness to support the DRC’s candidacy for the post of non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the period 2026-2027. The two ministers stressed the interest shown by the Heads of State in the development of relations of cooperation and economic partnership between the two brotherly countries. Mr. Bourita reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to support the DRC in its development efforts, particularly in areas with a strong socio-economic impact, including agriculture, health, water, electricity and renewable energies. In this regard, the two officials agreed to hold joint sectoral committees for the implementation of concrete projects and action plans in the targeted sectors. While welcoming the establishment in February 2020 of a Morocco-DRC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIMC), the two sides agreed to hold in 2022 the 6th Morocco-DRC Joint Commission of Cooperation as well as the Morocco/DRC Economic Forum, with a view to further promoting trade and economic exchanges between the two countries and taking advantage of the Congolese consular’s presence in Dakhla, which is called upon to become a flagship center in terms of regional economic integration.