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PSC Interview: Towards a collective ownership of the PSC
9 April 2018

This month, 10 new members will join the Peace and Security Council (PSC). Morocco, which returned to the African Union (AU) in January 2017, will start its first two-year tenure on the council. The PSC Report asked Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita about Morocco’s plans for its PSC membership.

What are the major crisis issues on the continent that Morocco will focus on as it joins the PSC in April 2018?

Morocco’s election to the Peace and Security Council is a recognition of the constructive role and the productive action carried out by Morocco in favour of peace and stability of Africa, under the leadership of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI.

Morocco doesn’t come to the PSC with a ‘menu à la carte’ of the crises that it considers to be a priority. This would amount to a cherry-picking exercise that could be detrimental. Instead, Morocco comes with a vision through which its engagement in the PSC will be total. No issue will be left aside.

Morocco doesn’t come to the PSC with a menu à la carte of the crises that it considers to be a priority
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In this regard, Morocco’s goal during its mandate on the PSC is to contribute in an effective and a direct manner to the activities of the important body. Morocco has considerable expertise, having contributed to maintaining peace and security in Africa for the past 60 years.

Morocco’s vision is based on the interdependence between security, regional integration and development. The emergence of our continent depends on development, which can’t be achieved without peace and regional integration. These three components are vital for the rise of a New Africa and are critical for conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Morocco’s election to the PSC is therefore guided by the aim of strengthening African unity and solidarity. Achieving peace and stability across the continent could seem a daunting task, but we believe that if realism, compromise and unity of action prevail, the PSC can successfully meet the challenge. Avoidance of division, fragmentation and polarisation of the PSC’s work will be critical in this regard.

How can Morocco help to improve the working methods of the PSC?

The improvement of the PSC’s working methods has been on the table of discussion for years now, with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of this important organ of the AU. The PSC has started to implement some of these changes to its working methods, but more needs to be done.

It should be recalled that the report presented by President Paul Kagame, in January 2017, stresses that ‘a thorough reform of the PSC should be initiated. This reform could include: a) reviewing the PSC’s membership, in line with Article 5 (4) of the PSC Protocol, b) strengthening the PSC’s working methods, and c) strengthening the PSC’s role in prevention and crisis management.’

Currently, there is a growing consensus about the urgent need for improving the PSC’s working methods, so as to consolidate the collective ownership of the council by the member states, and the role of the PSC in preserving peace and security in Africa.

There is a growing consensus about the urgent need for improving the PSC’s working methods
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Morocco considers that the improvement of the PSC’s working methods is a component of the AU reform process that needs to be tackled in a comprehensive and holistic manner. The Kingdom will work jointly with other member states of the PSC for increased efficiency in order to give the work of the council a real intergovernmental dimension.

As a PSC member, Morocco will contribute in a constructive and productive manner to this important process, so as to enhance further consensus through an inclusive and transparent approach.

What needs to be done to improve the efficiency of the PSC in crisis situations as the AU works to silence the guns by 2020?

As the AU set the ambitious goal of ‘silencing the guns by 2020’, we need to underline that a comprehensive and holistic reform of the PSC is key to improve its efficiency in terms of preventing and managing crises in Africa.

Morocco considers that the main step to this end starts with the real ownership of this body by the member states, which have to be the driving force of the PSC. There is an urgent need to make the council intergovernmental. One can’t stress enough that the appropriation by member states is key for the proper functioning of the PSC.

The appropriation by member states is key for the proper functioning of the PSC
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In order to cope with the growing peace and security agenda in Africa, adequate human and financial resources need to be devoted for the proper functioning of the PSC. Moreover, an emphasis needs to be put on prevention through strengthening the mechanism of early warning and conflict prevention.

As a newly elected member of the PSC, Morocco will put its well-known and wide experience in peacekeeping operations, mediation, peacebuilding and in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism at the disposal of this AU organ and for African states.

What is Morocco’s view about the AU reform process?

The Royal Vision of His Majesty the King for the emergence of Africa is very clear. The AU reform process is a priority for the Kingdom of Morocco because a reformed AU will be a catalyst for intra-African cooperation, which Morocco has chosen as a flagship policy in its relations on the continent. Morocco is eager to share its expertise and its know-how in the fields of peace and security, sustainable development, migration, climate change and other domains.

The Kingdom has submitted its contribution to the crucial debate on AU reform to President Kagame, in his capacity as leader of the AU reform process. Morocco also participated actively in the Kigali retreat in May 2017.

The AU reform process is a priority for the Kingdom of Morocco
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We would like to underscore the leadership of Rwanda’s president on this important issue and pay tribute to the work that he is accomplishing. The report ‘The imperative to strengthen our Union’ is an important and pragmatic document. It contains important proposals that AU members need to discuss in depth.

Morocco’s view is that the AU is at a crossroads; we believe now is the time for an effective and efficient AU. The Kingdom has important multilateral diplomacy experience, and we think that AU reform needs to be bold and holistic in scope in view of the many challenges and threats that the continent faces in peace, security and sustainable development.

The AU reform process needs to be a consensual one. We don’t believe that it must be a piecemeal approach through which African states decide which changes they favour and which ones they reject. We think we need to invest in the process to get it right. Ownership of this process by African states is vital. We had a very healthy debate on the issue during the 29th and 30th AU summits. I am sure that the coming weeks and months will witness important consultations and discussions.

How can Morocco assist the AU to implement its vision and roadmap on migration?

The choice of His Majesty King Mohammed VI  as leader on the issue of migration during the 28th AU Summit is far from being random. It is a recognition of His pioneer role in the adoption and implementation of a humanistic national policy on migration.

Under the leadership of His Majesty the King, a large and inclusive process of consultation was conducted during one year with African states, the AU Commission, the regional economic communities as well as relevant stakeholders, culminating in the presentation of the African Agenda on Migration during the 30th AU Summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2018.

The agenda is comprehensive in scope and offers an Afro-centred vision on migration. It aims to make migration in Africa a choice rather than a necessity, and advocates for coherent national policies, effective subregional coordination and a continental perspective.

In this regard, the agenda calls for the creation of an African Observatory for Migration, under the AU umbrella, to develop the observation and the exchange of information between African countries and in order to promote better management of migratory flows. It also stresses the necessity to create a post of AU Special Envoy for Migration, who will be primarily responsible for coordinating the AU’s policies on migration.

The African Agenda on Migration aims to assist African states to tackle the challenges associated with migration
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The African Agenda on Migration, through its holistic approach, aims to assist African states and the AU Commission to tackle in an integrated manner the multidimensional challenges associated with migration. The agenda can inform the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration elaboration process.

The Kingdom of Morocco, in its capacity as host country of the Intergovernmental Conference for the adoption of the Global Compact in December 2018, is committed to making this multilateral conference a platform for Africa.

Morocco stands ready to share with other African states its successful national experience after six years of implementation of the policy on migration and asylum. The Kingdom is a strong proponent of inter-African cooperation, and working together on the issue of migration can be a starting point to implement long-term development strategies for the benefit of the continent, within the framework of relevant processes, in particular the Rabat Process.

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