KING MOHAMMED VI’S MESSAGE TO ARAB LEADERS: ARAB SOLIDARITY AND A POWERFUL ECONOMIC INTEGRATION – OPED
Moroccan King Mohammad VI called Tuesday for an honest and genuine collective Arab action to overcome differences and to boost solidarity.
Prime Minister Abdelillah Benkirane, in a speech on behalf of the Monarch before the 25th Arab Summit, said the Palestinian issue witnessed a major development when the UN recognized Palestine as a non-Member Observor State and the UNESCO approved its membership as a country.
He commended the US endeavors to resume peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis, which should be based on UN resolutions and Arab peace initiative.
The King reiterated Morocco’s full support of the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate rights, as timetable of negotiations which would expire by end of next month was approaching.
He meanwhile said the crisis in Syria was “dangerous and unacceptable,” calling upon the international community to live up to its responsibility to end the bloody conflict and alleviate suffering of the Syrian people.
He also calls on Arab countries and especially GCC to preserve its unity and deploy more efforts to reinforce its economic integration and overcome its political differences in order to remain a model of Arab regional integration.
Here follows the full text of the speech read out by head of government Abdelilah Benkirane:
“Praise be to God; May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Your Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al -Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, Chairman of the Summit,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to extend my sincere thanks to my brother, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al -Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait and to the Kuwaiti people for hosting this Summit. I would like to congratulate His Highness on the excellent preparation for this important meeting.
I also wish to commend my brother the Emir of the State of Qatar, Chairman of our previous Summit session, for his efforts to promote joint Arab action.
Amid the swift regional and international changes affecting the world, there have been important developments with regard to the Palestinian cause, particularly the recognition by the United Nations Organization of the State of Palestine, granting it non-Member Observer State status, as well as Palestine’s admission to UNESCO as a full-fledged member.
Furthermore, thanks to the untiring efforts of the U.S. Administration, the Palestinian and the Israeli sides have returned to the negotiating table with a view to reaching an agreement that covers all final status issues.
In this respect, I should like to emphasize that the Arab Peace Initiative remains a realistic proposal for the achievement of comprehensive peace, which would benefit the region and the world.
Our strong commitment to support the United States’ efforts and ensure the success of the negotiations, together with the keenness of the Arab delegation from the follow-up committee to the Arab Peace Initiative to closely follow the negotiations and support the Palestinian position in these negotiations clearly show how committed we are not only to the option of peace, but also to its process which guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their own independent, viable and geographically contiguous state, with Al-Qods al-Sharif as its capital, living side by side with Israel, in peace and security.
As Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Al-Qods al-Sharif Committee, I was keen to convene the twentieth session of the Al-Qods Committee, which was held in Marrakech and which I chaired in person. For the first time ever, the Committee meeting was attended by a fine group of eminent representatives of the UN Secretary-General, the five permanent members of the Security Council, the European Union and the Vatican.
The meeting provided a suitable opportunity to emphasize, once more, that there can be no peace without determining the final status of East Jerusalem – the core issue of the conflict in the region – and that the responsibility for achieving the desired peace lies with the entire international community.
I also underscored the importance of acting on the ground, through the Bayt Mal Al Quds Al Sharif Agency, in order to support the steadfastness of the inhabitants of Al-Qods on their own land, and to oppose the Judaization policy applied by Israel in the holy city.
However, given Israel’s continuing aggressive policies, I call for full and close coordination between the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. This will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our initiatives and endeavors, in addition to increasing our ability to muster our energies and resources with a view to upholding this just cause.
Just as I insist on closing Arab and Muslim ranks, I call on our Palestinian brothers to rise above their differences and to achieve genuine national reconciliation that strengthens the Palestinian negotiating hand. I wish to reiterate my continuing support for the efforts exerted in this regard by my brother Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and President of the Palestinian National Authority.
As we are nearing the agreed end-of-April deadline for reaching a final status agreement, I should like to insist that any extension of the negotiation period should lead to the formulation of a new approach that puts an end to the occupation, results in to the establishment of the independent Palestinian state and comes up with consensus-based solutions to all issues, using a specific timetable.
In this regards, we utterly refuse that Israel should be allowed to use the extension to buy time, change things on the ground or impose a fait accompli.
The Arab world has seen far-reaching developments which have led, in some countries, to changes of varying degrees.
In other countries, because the spirit of dialogue and compromise was not embraced, because narrow considerations were permitted to prevail over higher national interests and because sectarianism was allowed to expand and grow, peoples’ hopes and aspirations for freedom, dignity, progress and democracy have, regrettably, been thwarted.
I wish to refer, in particular, to the tragic situation experienced by our brothers in Syria. The humanitarian tragedy gripping them is calling out to our conscience as Arabs and Muslims, and, beyond that, to the conscience of the international community as a whole.
In this regard, the first thing to keep in mind is what the UN Secretary General said when he indicated that what is happening in Syria is the greatest humanitarian crisis facing the world.
It is truly a humanitarian tragedy, a dark, shameful chapter in the history of mankind. It is also a dangerous, unacceptable situation which the international community should address and in which it is called upon to bear its responsibility in full.
In this regard, I wish to stress the need for the Security Council to continue to work effectively for the implementation of the first Geneva Conference declaration, to put an end to the suffering of the valiant Syrian people and to enable them to achieve their legitimate aspirations for unity, democracy, development and dignity.
The Arab world is currently going through a sensitive stage, with heightened political tensions, worsening economic and social conditions, growing sectarian strife and a tendency towards extremism and terrorism. All of these are testing our will to promote joint Arab action.
It has become imperative that Arab countries turn our organization into a more effective bloc that is able to keep up with those changes and developments. We therefore need to adopt a new approach in our joint action based on trust, dialogue, good neighborliness, responsibility and a will to put our inter-Arab differences – the real ones as well as the fabricated ones – behind us and look to the future when dealing with Arab issues.
Our best course of action, in this respect, is to make the most of the tremendous potential for unity and complementarity, and to avoid divisions and disagreements.
We also should be more aware of our own resources and boost our self-confidence in order to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of our peoples. This can be achieved provided we believe in the common good and serve Arab citizens, particularly young people, and uphold their right to development, democracy, security, serenity and stability.
Such lofty objectives can only be attained by our Arab countries through the integration of Arab nations into strong regional blocs which command respect for their legitimate interests at the regional and the international levels.
In the Maghreb region, we still have not achieved the integration we yearn for. The regrettable hurdles faced constitute an unjustifiable squandering of development opportunities for the five Maghreb countries. By contrast, I see the Gulf Cooperation Council as an example of successful regional integration. I therefore call for the GCC to be further protected and to enable it to rise to the temporary challenges it may be faced with.
The Kingdom of Morocco, which concluded a multidimensional strategic partnership with this major Arab bloc in 2011, is keen to ensure it remains a model of Arab regional integration, given the achievements made through a commitment to common denominators shared by its Member States, and the respect for its founding principles and values, particularly when it comes to safeguarding the security and unity of its members and combating external interferences that seek to undermine its stability.
In previous Arab Summits, we made a number of important decisions aimed at serving Arab citizens. With the profound changes affecting the Arab world, we need to adopt innovative ideas and appropriate mechanisms to meet our peoples’ aspirations for further progress and prosperity.
In this regard, I have always firmly believed that homogenous, integrated regional blocs within the larger Arab family can make the Arab house even stronger and further enhance its solidarity and efficiency.
While Arab endeavors in the past laid special emphasis on strengthening political relations between Arab countries, today we know for sure that cooperation with countries from the South, on the basis of efficiency, productivity and credibility, is one of the best means for achieving economic growth and sustainable human development, both from the human perspective as well as from the economic and investment angle.
In this respect, I call for capitalizing on the human, spiritual and historical bonds between the Arab world and Sub-Saharan African countries, in order to establish economic cooperation relations with African regional groupings. Morocco is keen to build on its experience and special relations with these countries to forge effective solidarity-based partnerships.
The Kingdom of Morocco, which believes in all the factors Arab countries have in common, which is convinced that we share a common destiny and which is keen to lay the foundations for effective and innovative Arab cooperation, has spared no effort to serve common Arab interests.
Given the tremendous human and material potential available to Arab countries, I think it is imperative to embark on a sincere collective effort to build a solid, cohesive Arab space, where there is no room for disputes and dissension – an Arab platform for the promotion of trust, solidarity, mutual assistance and shared interests, for the well-being of our peoples.
To conclude, I pray that Almighty God grant us success and guide us for the benefit of our Ummah, its unity and dignity.
“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love”.
True is the Word of God.”
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