MFA Nasser Bourita chairs the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the African Atlantic States Process in Rabat

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, chaired, on July 12, 2023 in Rabat, the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the African Atlantic States Process.

At the opening of the third ministerial meeting of the Atlantic African States Process, Mr. Nasser Bourita, delivered a speech emphasizing that under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has made the Atlantic "an identity and an opportunity, a place for introspection and an area for projection".

"From Dakhla to Tangiers, the Atlantic has always been consubstantial with who we are. It also structures what we share and the space to which we belong", stated Mr. Bourita, noting that "the Atlantic is important for Morocco".

The Minister also emphasized that Morocco's true interests are never far removed from Africa's true interests, and that Africa's true interests are themselves never incompatible with the true interests of the Atlantic, explaining that these interests are the foundations on which to build a true vision of the South.

Mr. Bourita also stressed the importance of bringing about a change to put into practice a structure that would enable the region to seize the many opportunities for cooperation in the blue economy, energy and other fields, while addressing common challenges, calling for "an Africa of major actions".

"Our mission will be accomplished when our partnership plays a leading role in promoting co-development, integration and stability in our region", he underlined, noting that the objective will be achieved when this partnership is the embodiment or success story of South-South cooperation, in its most noble and virtuous aspects.

"We know the Europe of small steps, we now want the Africa of big actions", insisted Mr. Bourita, noting that a Program of Action would be submitted to the Rabat meeting for adoption.

"The Action Program enshrines our shared determination to build a flexible, mutually supportive partnership aimed at stability and shared prosperity in the African-Atlantic area", he noted, specifying that this Program is the outcome of a participatory consultation process involving the focal points, coordinated by the Initiative's Permanent Secretariat.

Through its objectives, this Action Program should reflect in a coherent and holistic way the three pillars of this partnership: political and security dialogue; the promotion of cooperation in the fields of the blue economy, maritime connectivity and energy; and the protection and conservation of the marine environment, explained the Minister, stressing the importance of boosting intra-regional cooperation, facilitating convergence of views and actions on issues of common interest, and facilitating consultation and unification of positions in international forums and in cooperation efforts with international partners.

In addition, Mr. Bourita said that the program should find concrete expression in the action plans of the partnership's three Thematic Groups, led by Cabo Verde, Gabon and Nigeria.

He stressed the importance of coordination at national level for the coherent and cohesive implementation of this partnership, pointing out that the Kingdom of Morocco, aware of the centrality of such consultation at national level, has set up a national coordination mechanism involving the Departments concerned by cooperation in the Atlantic area.

The Minister took the opportunity to announce the launch of the initiative's website. "In addition to bringing us up to date with the times, this digital platform will enable us to increase our visibility and serve not only as an information relay between members of the Process and partners, but also as an instrument for advocacy and the search for partnerships".

In the same vein, Bourita announced that the meeting's proceedings would culminate in the Rabat Declaration II, which invites the Permanent Secretariat and the Focal Points to begin work on formulating the Action Plans of the three Thematic Groups, in order to harmonize the shared ambitions of the countries bordering the Atlantic and the Vision set for this grouping in 2022.

"Belonging to both Africa and the Atlantic does not mean having to choose between one or the other, or suffering from the issues that cut across both. On the contrary, it means benefiting from the richness of a dual geographical and geopolitical affiliation, and acting as a link between several continents," he pointed out, noting that this partnership should also be open to other initiatives and other partners, in the Atlantic and elsewhere.

"While the search for new partners is undoubtedly the next step in our process, the main strength of our Initiative lies in our respective capacities to give this Process its rightful place, notably by involving all the national players concerned", he concluded.

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