HM the King Sends Message to Extraordinary Summit of Community of Sahel-Saharan States, Full Text

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HM the King Sends Message to Extraordinary Summit of Community of Sahel-Saharan States, Full Text
Here follows the full text of the message sent by HM King Mohammed VI to the extraordinary session of the conference of heads of state and government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, held on Saturday in N'Ddjamena.

Your Excellency, Mr Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, President of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States,

Your Excellencies, the Heads of State and Government of CEN-SAD Member States,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to offer my warmest congratulations to my brother, His Excellency Mr. Idriss DEBY ITNO, for organizing this extraordinary Summit.

It is especially symbolic that this meeting should be held in N'Djamena. Indeed, it was in this city, in 2013, that our Community, originally a bloc set up to combat desertification, drought and climate change, became a community dedicated to the promotion of cooperation and sustainable development, the preservation and consolidation of peace, security and stability, the fostering of political dialogue and the fight against all forms of organized cross-border crime.

Reflecting a common determination, this transformation was aimed at preparing our Community for the challenges we are facing today. It showed our desire to come together.

Twenty-one years after its inception, our Community has changed and has new relevance. Of all the Regional Economic Communities that are recognized by the African Union, the CEN-SAD has the particularity of being trans-regional.

It is clear that the vocation of the CEN-SAD Community is to bring people together. Beyond the distinctive geographical and climatic features of the Sahel-Saharan region to which our countries belong, the CEN-SAD is facing common challenges and is committed to the same fundamentals regarding collective security and sustainable, inclusive co-development.

Furthermore, the Community of Sahel-Saharan States is an important source of wealth and has great potential for development. With a GDP in excess of $1 trillion and a population of some 600 million, the Sahel-Saharan region boasts significant natural resources, has a potential for complementarity and for economies of scale and is an important reservoir for growth.

Thus, the CEN-SAD has been providing itself with the tools that will enable it to contribute actively to regional and continental integration processes. That is its raison d'être; that is also the spirit that should be guiding our work and our action.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our Community’s repositioning on the continent requires the pooling of all efforts to make sure that the provisions of the revised Treaty are implemented and that our grouping is moving forward towards real regional integration.

In this respect, and with that strategic objective in mind, the guidelines for our action should include:

- Enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of our Community's executive bodies, in accordance with the guidelines of the Conference on the restructuring of the Executive Secretariat;

- Establishing the various institutional structures provided for in the revised CEN-SAD Treaty, in particular the Permanent Peace and Security Council and the Permanent Council in charge of Sustainable Development;

- Devising a strategy dedicated to human development in the Sahel-Saharan region as well as programs for the integration of young people;

- Ensuring the effective implementation of the strategy to combat terrorism and violent extremism;

- Ensuring the operationalization of the CEN-SAD 2015-2050 Security and Development Strategy;

- Developing a common policy on border security and adopting an operational action plan.

These measures should enhance our Community's role as a preferred interlocutor for the resolution of the crises plaguing our region, using a coordinated approach with the other Regional Economic Communities, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and other stakeholders.

The CEN-SAD's action with regard to the maintenance of peace and security in the Sahel-Saharan region should be based on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. Consequently, that action should favor dialogue, mediation, good offices and preventive diplomacy.

Should they be supported by a revamped education system geared towards creativity and human resource development, the above-mentioned measures would enable us to ensure the protection of our current and future generations.

Mr. President,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In keeping with its fundamental principles and deeply held beliefs, the Kingdom of Morocco remains ready to share its experience in combating terrorism and violent extremism with CEN-SAD African Member States. That experience is based on the triad defined by security, religion and the fight against vulnerability and poverty. It is only through sincere, responsible cooperation between all the actors involved that such a battle can be won decisively.

To achieve that objective, we must provide our Organization with resources that are commensurate with the ambitions and missions we assign to it. It is essential that we all pay our national contributions to the CEN-SAD budget.

It is incumbent upon us to give fresh impetus to our Organization. That new momentum implies necessarily - but not exclusively - the establishment of rules of good governance.

The Kingdom of Morocco has always sought to ensure the emergence of the Sahel-Saharan region by maintaining fraternal relations with all member countries based on cooperation, solidarity and respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Morocco's commitment to South-South cooperation aims to pave the way for an integration that is conducive to investment and trade and that targets co-development.

With that in mind, Morocco has worked actively to establish a network of actors involving both the private sector and civil society. This policy has led to the setting up of three Commissions, one for the Sahel Region, one for the Congo Basin Region and the third for Island States, in addition to the adoption of the "triple A Initiative" for the adaptation of African agriculture.

In this regard, I reiterate the Kingdom of Morocco's commitment to give fresh momentum to the CEN-SAD as a Regional Economic Community of the African Union. To this end, I am in favor of strengthening CEN-SAD’s action for the promotion of peace, stability and development in the Sahel-Saharan region.

The greatest challenge we are facing together remains that of offering our countries and our peoples an area in which security, stability, prosperity and development prevail.

Let us unite for the good of our peoples and of our continent, Africa.

Thank you.

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