Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1230, (22 - 28 January 2015)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1230, (22 - 28 January 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Tensions eased

Egypt’s strained relations with Morocco were on the mend following a high-level ministerial visit to Rabat, reports Doaa El-Bey

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri visited Morocco this week to clear up any misunderstandings between the two countries.

“The two sides expressed their satisfaction with mutual relations and the level of coordination and cooperation on the political level. They also agreed on the importance of establishing future relations on a strategic basis and mutual vision that takes into account the changes that the world and the Arab region have been witnessing,” according to a 20-point statement issued at the end of Shoukri’s two-day visit.

The statement added that the Moroccan minister of foreign affairs, Salaheddin Mezouar, emphasised Rabat’s support for the road map established after the 30 June Revolution in Egypt that led to the 2014 constitution, the election of Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi as president, and preparations for parliamentary elections to be held in March.

Tensions mounted when a Moroccan state TV channel aired a report titled “The Political Repercussions of the Military Coup in Egypt” in January. In it, Egypt was described as having lived through “chaos” since a “military coup” in 2013.

Morocco’s ambassador to Cairo, Mohamed Saad Al-Eleimi, said that the report had set out to strain relations between Egypt and Morocco. Mezouar criticised the programme, saying that attempts to harm relations between Egypt and Morocco were “lamentable.”

Some Moroccan newspapers have also recently accused Egypt of supporting the independence of Western Sahara, a hot-button topic for Rabat, due to closer relations between Egypt and Algeria. The latter backs Western Sahara’s pro-independence Polisario Front.

Acting to clarify Egypt’s views on the matter, Shoukri reaffirmed Egypt’s support for Morocco’s territorial integrity and for a UN-brokered solution to the issue, as well as its support for UN Security Council resolutions on efforts by Morocco to move ahead towards a settlement of the conflict, a joint statement said.

Shoukri delivered a message from President Al-Sisi to Moroccan King Mohamed VI, emphasising the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He also discussed ways to improve relations between the two states and regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the crisis in Syria, the situation in Libya and developments in the Palestinian issue and the right of the Palestinians to establish their own state.

In a statement, Rabat re-emphasised its support for Egypt’s campaign against terrorism and the rise in violence that followed the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi.

“The two sides underlined their support for the international efforts exerted to combat terrorism and their intention to coordinate mutual efforts to fight extremism and terrorism, especially in North Africa,” the statement read.

Mezouar also emphasised his country’s support for Egypt’s attempts to win a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Egypt has been garnering the support of United Nations member states for its candidacy for the seat and is pinning high hopes on the support of Arab and African states.

At the end of Shoukri’s visit, the two countries agreed to hold a fourth round of mutual cooperation talks at the ministerial level, to further boost relations between them.

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