The thirty second session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Council of the countries of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), closed on Friday 9 May 2014, in Rabat, with the signing of the minutes of the session and the holding of a joint press conference.
During this session, the Council stressed on the need for the Union to transcend the current impasse, to advance forward in order to fulfil the aspirations of the peoples of the region, and to face the geopolitical, economic, social and security challenges ahead.
The Ministers were unanimous in addressing the constraints that prevail in the current circumstances, calling for combining efforts and for a closer coordination, to cope with the challenges relating to security and stability, particularly in light of the changes that take place in the countries of the Union.
At the joint press conference held following the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar, affirmed that the security approach alone is unable to meet the challenges facing the Sahel-Saharan region, particularly with regard to security.
Mr. Mezouar indicated that the security aspect alone is unable to tackle the security issues in the Sahel-Saharan region, underlining the raising awareness of the Union’s countries on the need to play their role in contributing to face these challenges. Mr. Mezouar added that “We are committed to this process, due to the existence of common convictions, and in accordance with an approach that goes beyond the classical logic in coping with these challenges, most notably, illegal immigration and international drug trafficking, amongst others.
In this context, the Minister highlighted the “integrated approach” adopted by Morocco – one that is mainly based on strengthening the spiritual security in the region, and on supporting the economic and human development -, to contribute to maintaining the stability of its people and to combat illegal immigration.
In this vein, Mr. Mezouar, called for undertaking a collective action to launch initiatives that shall provide support to the population of the Sahel-Saharan region in the field of food security, and also to the free initiative, in addition to anything that is capable of ensuring stability in the region.
In the same context, Mr. Mezouar indicated that the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the AMU addressed the situation in Libya, noting that emphasis was put on the strong involvement of the Union’s countries to support the dynamics for national reconciliation in this country, in order to put an end to the transition period, building democratic institutions, and preserve stability – “an objective that we, together, seek to achieve.”
For his part, the Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Mohamed Mhamed Abdelaziz, affirmed that any security vulnerability in the Sahel region will have a negative impact on the security in North Africa and the Mediterranean region, recalling the series of meetings and workshops organized in the Maghreb countries, relating to cooperation in the area of security.
He also recalled the “Rabat Declaration”, which endorsed the work of the second Regional Ministerial Conference on Border Security, held in 2013, in Rabat, which called for the establishment of a regional training centre in favour of officers in charge of border security from the North African States, the Sahel and the Sahara, to take advantage from the experience of other countries and partners.
Mr. Abdelaziz also underlined the importance of continued efforts, both individually and collectively at the AMU, in the field of security and strengthening the communication channels with other regional organizations, such as the European Union, the Arab League, and the African Union, in order to ensure broader cooperation in tackling the security issues, including terrorism, human trafficking, immigration, drug trafficking, amongst others.
For his part, the Secretary General of the AMU, Mr. Habib Ben Yahya, stressed on the need to transcend the “stagnation” that prevails within the structures of the Union, while recalling the various regular meetings and events that the Ministers of the AMU countries hold, in several fields and sectors. He affirmed that the “dialogue continues in the AMU, despite divergences of opinions, and we hope to strengthen the Union while taking into account the cross-border challenges facing the region.”
Furthermore, in the final declaration that followed the thirty second session, the Council stressed on the need to consolidate the security cooperation, and to intensify collective efforts to address these challenges through common security policies.
The Council examined the progress of the joint action of the Maghreb, since its last session, and expressed satisfaction with regard to the achievements of the sectoral ministerial commissions, in the areas of food security, economy, finance, environment, and human resources, highlighting the willingness of the member countries to pursue efforts towards achieving the progress, the development, and the stability for the peoples of the region.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs Council of the AMU reviewed the main Maghreb and regional issues of common interest, expressing satisfaction with regard to the measures undertaken by Libya, to build a state of justice, law and institutions, in addition to those undertaken by Tunisia on its way to a successful transitional process, as well as the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.
The Council also expressed its solidarity vis-à-vis the Syrian people, calling for putting an end to the bloodshed, and to fulfil their aspirations for freedom, democracy, and dignity, while supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy of the United Nations and of the Arab League, to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis that ensures national unity, and the territorial sovereignty of Syria and its social fabric.
The agenda of the thirty second session of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Council of the AMU focused on a number of issues, including political dialogue relating to Arab, regional, and international issues, the consolidation of the security cooperation of the Maghreb, the activation of the meetings mechanisms of the Heads of Government, in compliance with the Article 7 of the Marrakech Treaty, the Maghreb integration, the review of the works of the specialized ministerial commissions, the reform of the AMU system, and the upgrading of the agreements of the Maghreb.