Positive signs foreshadow a diplomatic success

Nasser Bourita receives the visiting Ambassador Bernardo Dombele Mabala, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Angola, who is visiting Rabat on 6 May.

Relations between Morocco and Angola have been developing on a positive trajectory over the years. Since two meetings between His Majesty King Mohammed VI and Angolan President Joao Lourenço in Abidjan in November 2017 and in Brazzaville in April 2018, the two countries have consistently reaffirmed their desire to strengthen their bilateral ties. A wish that was reiterated recently during the visit of itinerant ambassador to the Republic of Angola, Bernardo Mbala Dombele, to Rabat.

The visit to Morocco, on 6 May, Mr. Bernardo Mbala Dombele, the visiting Ambassador of the Republic of Angola, probably heralds a positive and qualitative development in relations between the Kingdom and Angola, a very important one in the context of Southern Africa. The country is , the last in Africa to gain its independence from Portugal in 1975. In recent years, positive signals have been sent by this country, which is known for its position rather than aligned with South Africa regarding the territorial integrity of Morocco. But clearly, changing global geopolitics, as well as Morocco’s leading role on the continental scale and its commitment to the emergence of Africa, are challenging many acquired views and older creeds. Elsewhere, during his visit to Morocco, where Nasser Bourita delivered a message by the President of Angola to His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the envoy of the President of Angola stressed the need to strengthen the ties of friendship that Angola and Moroccan binds.

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Are we seeing the beginning of a reversal of Luanda’s position with respect to the Moroccan Sahara?

Here thinks Mohamed Zakaria Abudahab, professor of international relations at the University Mohamed V in Rabat. First, Mr. Aboudahab recalled in a statement to Le Matin that Morocco had supported Angola during its years of struggle for independence. “However, Angola has, in the past, taken a hostile position regarding the territorial integrity of the state, even recognizing the so-called “RASD”. This was due to Morocco’s role in supporting movements, such as the South African ANC (African National Congress) or the MPLA (‘Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola)’. recalls the professor of international relations. “Therefore there was considerable confusion and We know, among other things, how much logistical support Morocco provided to Nelson Mandela, then fighting against apartheid, and to Angolan independence activists, including the former dean of African ambassadors to Morocco, who carried it, This must be remembered, Moroccan passport from the pre-independence of your country! Remembering Mr Abudahab again. That being said, Angola, the professor continues, has experienced a real emergence for many years and, for Morocco, it would be a strategic opportunity if it managed to put the economy at the center of cooperation between the two countries, Whatever it is, it is valid for other countries in the region like Namibia. A collaboration that, in Mr. Abudahab’s opinion, can certainly be extended to other areas such as culture, education … knowing that Morocco has been receiving Angolan students for many years, while the latter will also be Portuguese-speaking .

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Like their fellow Cape Verdeans or Bissau-Guinea, they benefit from a scholarship from the AMCI (Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation) and a language upgrade program prior to immersion in the Kingdom’s universities. “It would therefore be advisable that Moroccans bank on the Sahara for a longer period to act on the situation in Angola,” Mr. Abudahab said. Furthermore, it is a tautology to say that Morocco has taken a different approach to its relations with countries that maintain their recognition of the so-called “Russud”, followed by the “flag follows trade” rule, among others. In words, economics, in effect, leads to politics, he explains. More deeply, Morocco must achieve a diplomatic breakthrough within Southern Africa, including action with the SADC (Southern African Development Community), the largest African economic community with its 16 members: South Africa, Angola, Botswana , Comoros, DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Swaziland, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Abu Dhabi. In this case, it is an important step, but a long one when we know the hostility of South Africa towards Morocco, the most influential country in the region, says South Africa, Professor of International Relations. Yet, he emphasized, nothing is impossible in diplomacy: a long-term strategy can overcome many difficulties and remove many misunderstandings. “With the process in motion, the first results are beginning to be felt, especially after Morocco returns to the African Union,” concluded Mr Abudahab.

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