EARLY this month, Tanzanians and foreign diplomats gathered in Dar es Salaam to mark the 18th enthronement of King Mohamed VI of Morocco and the country’s strategy to diversify its partnerships and ties with the most important players on the African continent.
Last year, Morocco took its natural place within the institutional family when it rejoined the African Union, the successor of the then Organisation of African Unity. “Our friends have long been asking us to return among them so that Morocco may take its natural place within its institutional family.
That time has now come,” King Mohamed VI said in a letter to the 27th Summit of the African Union held in the Rwandan capital of Kigali in July last year. The enthronement is an event marked as a national day in Morocco. King Mohamed succeeded his late father, King Hassan II, who died in 1999.
In Dar es Salaam, several Tanzanians, led by retired Presi dent Ali Hassan Mwinyi and the Speaker of the Zanzibar House of Representatives gathered at the Moroccan Ambassador’s residence to celebrate the auspicious occasion.
The ceremony also attracted a number of foreign envoys based in Tanzania from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Namibia, France, the United States, Denmark, Russia Vietnam and several from the Arab states.
It was the first ceremony for the Moroccan government to be held in Tanzania since the two countries re-established their diplomatic bilateral relations last year since Morocco quit the continental body because of political differences over the Western Sahara crisis.
In reviving the diplomatic relations between the two countries, King Mohammed VI made a three-day state visit to Tanzania in October in which 23 bilateral agreements were signed. The day was indeed joyous for Moroccan Ambassador Abdallah Benryane who went from table to table to great his guests.
“This occasion gives the Moroccan people an opportunity to renew the bonds of allegiance uniting them and to assess the progress achieved throughout the year on the path of development, democracy and the consolidation of our national unity and territorial integrity,” said the envoy, adding, “It has assuredly been marked by his majesty the King’s triumphant diplomacy, which culminated the return of the kingdom to its institutional family, the African union (AU), after more than three decades of absence.”
Ambassador Benryane further noted that King Mohamed VI was delighted with the homecoming saying “it is so good to be back at home; Africa is my continent and my home. I am at home at last and happily reunited with you my friends whom I have missed you all.”
Morocco’s return to AU could not have been possible without the massive support expressed by the vast majority of African countries, who wished to see the kingdom regain its rightful place within the organization.
Tanzania is among prominent AU members who supported Morocco’s return to the organization. President John Magufuli explicit ly supported Morocco’s readmission to the AU as documented in a letter he wrote to the Chair of the AU Commission.
During the king’s visit last year bilateral agreements were signed on such fields as agriculture, fisheries, logistics, air services, culture, science and technology, tourism and finance. Under those agreements, the leaders of the two countries expressed their commitment to promote economic integration in Africa.
In October last year, Morocco and Tanzania held their first forum on trade and investment, which set the path for boosting relations and permanent bilateral economic exchanges.
Ambassador Benryane affirmed that his country welcomes Tanzania’s readiness to contribute to the implementation of relevant resolutions of the United Nations on the Western Sahara issue in a spirit of reconciliation and positive and constructive engagement.
Tanzania, according to Foreign Minister Dr Augustine Mahiga, is committed to working with Morocco to consolidate the promising partnership launched during the visit of King Mohammed VI.