The moroccan press
Oil & Gas
Written by Energy Reporter
SDX today confirmed a gas discovery in its Morocco play.
The North Africa focused oil and gas company revealed a gas discovery has been made at its KSR-14 development well on the Sebou permit in Morocco, which it owns a 75% interest in.
Chief executive Paul Welch said: “This positive result follows the Company’s recent oil discovery at our West Gharib Concession in Egypt and demonstrates the real momentum developing across our portfolio.
“This outcome in Morocco is an excellent start to our nine well programme, where we are targeting an increase in our local gas sales volumes in Morocco by up to 50%. I look forward to reporting on the flow rates from today’s KSR-14 discovery and last week’s Rabul 2 discovery in the near term along with updating our shareholders on further progress on our South Disouq Development activities in due course.”
The KSR-14 well was drilled to a total depth of 1830 meters and encountered 20 meters of net conventional natural gas pay in the Guebbas and Hoot formations over 4 intervals. The initial results have exceeded pre-drill estimates, and work is currently underway to further evaluate the well’s accurate recoverable volume estimate, according to the firm.
Once the drilling rig has left the location, the Company expects that the well will be connected to the existing infrastructure and produced. The well is anticipated to be on production in approximately 30 days.
SDX is headquartered in London, England, UK, with a principal focus on North Africa. In Egypt, SDX has a working interest in two producing assets, 50% North West Gemsa & 50% Meseda, located onshore in the Eastern Desert, adjacent to the Gulf of Suez. In Morocco, SDX has a 75%.
Morocco's permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Omar Hilale, warned, Tuesday before the 4th UN Committee, against the current rise of the destabilizing phenomenon of separatism in some countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
This upsurge of separatism, Hilale noted, confirms that the political manipulation and exploitation of self-determination "are dangerous for many countries", threatening their stability, jeopardizing their development, fragmenting their regions and dividing their people.
Great-Britain is determined to cooperate with Morocco on youth training, British Minister of State for Countering Extremism, Susan Williams of Trafford, said Tuesday in Rabat.
The British official underlined, during talks with state secretary in charge of vocational training Larbi Bencheikh, that her country is willing to provide a frame of reference for the development of English language learning and the upgrading of teachers and students qualifications.
Susan Williams of Trafford welcomed the help provided by Morocco following London terror attacks.
Russian Prime Minister Starts Working, Friendly Visit to Morocco
Russian Prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, arrived, Tuesday in Rabat for a two-day working and friendly visit to Morocco.
Upon his arrival at the Rabat-Salé airport, Medvedev was greeted by Head of government, Saâd-Eddine El Othmani.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who arrived in Morocco late on Tuesday, will hold talks with that country’s leaders to discuss cooperation in the energy and agricultural sectors and cultivating tourism, the press service of the Russian government said.
Medvedev arrived in Morocco from Algeria.
Medvedev’s two-day visit includes talks with Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani and speakers of both houses of Morocco’s parliament. “The talks will focus on the current state of and cooperation prospects in various spheres, including energy, industry, agriculture, tourism, cultural and humanitarian ties,” the government’s press service said. “It is planned to sign a number of intergovernmental, inter-ministerial and corporate agreements and documents.”
According to a government administration official, Medvedev is paying a visit to Morocco at the invitation of his Moroccan counterpart. “Russia highly appreciates the traditionally friendly relations with Morocco and attaches exceptional significance to the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various areas,” the official said.
Apart from that, a Russian-Moroccan business forum organized by the Russian Export Center will be held on the sidelines of Medvedev’s visit.
The visit of the US delegation aims to enquire about the Moroccan experience in the fight against terrorism and in the strengthening of the rule of law.
2017 Oilibya Rally Of Morocco: Hero Motorsports Rider JROD Finishes Seventh Overall, CS Santosh 15th
The 2017 OiLibya Rally of Morocco ended on October 10, 2017, on a celebratory note for Hero MotoSports Team Rally with their Portuguese rider Joaquim ‘JRod’ Rodrigues maintaining his position through the last stage despite a busted chin to finish seventh overall in the motorcycle category.
Indian rider CS Santosh recorded his best-ever finish in this rally with 15th overall, bettering his result from the previous year. The closing stage of the 2017 OiLibya Rally of Morocco in Erfoud was a respite and went by smoothly, while earlier stages had been affected flooded riverbeds and bad weather which led to several changes to the schedule. The final stage comprised a 180km loop in the area around Erfoud.
Maintaining his pace was even more challenging for Rodrigues who had a rough time crossing the dunes during the last stage. In the beginning, the stage was going good where I was riding at a decent pace. Then when we started crossing the dunes, I jumped over one of them and landed in the flat. I bruised my chest and my chin, and had to take five stitches,” he said. Rodrigues further said that with the bike feeling better and his seventh overall finish here, things are now looking good and the team is ready for the Rally Dakar.
Santosh too looked confident with the new rally bike. Going into this rally we knew it was going to be an important test with the new bike. I was really excited to see the evolution of our rally machine. From day one I made good progress and built up every day. I definitely did not repeat the mistakes I made last year. Back then I struggled a lot but, this year I have a better feeling with the new bike and everything is working really well,” said CS Santosh, adding that he is happy to go to Dakar feeling like this.
Meanwhile, Hero MotoSports team manager Wolfgang Fischer said he could not ask for more, with both the team motorcycles finishing the OiLibya Rally of Morocco without any technical problems. This final round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship brings us the first top ten result for Joaquim Rodrigues in a world championship event. Overall, we draw a very positive summary of the whole year’s work and preparation. We’re looking forward to the next big target, the Rally Dakar,” he said.
Provisional overall standings after stage 5
1. Matthias Walkner, AUT, KTM 10:03:49 hrs
2. Kevin Benavides, ARG, Honda +13:42 min
3. Ricky Brabec, USA, Honda +16:58
4. Antoine Meo, FRA, KTM +18:27
5. Juan Pedrero, SPA, Sherco TVS +22:28
6. Pablo Quintanilla, CHI, Husqvarna +37:22
7. Joaquim Rodrigues, POR, Hero +44:29
15. CS Santosh, IND, Hero +1:49:37
The North Africa Post
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pointed out that only sovereign states are entitled to participate in the EU-Africa Summit, to be held in Abidjan, thus making it clear that France rejects categorically the attempts by separatist proponents to impose the participation of the separatist SADR entity.
The Minister said Monday in Rabat at a joint press briefing with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, that the polisario is not eligible to represent the Sahara and has no right to partake in such a sovereign summit open only to UN member states.
Le Drian reiterated on the same occasion his country’s firm stand in support of Morocco’s autonomy proposal as a sound basis for negotiations.
He added that the UN Secretary General is called upon to take initiatives on the basis of the autonomy proposal.
“We hope that the EU-Africa summit will take place in best conditions. The choice of participating countries should be taken by consensus between sovereign states,” he added.
For his part, Bourita noted that Morocco insists on maintaining the summit will take place at a special continental context requiring collective efforts. Therefore, he warned against derailing the summit and indulging in unnecessary debates.
As it endures setbacks one after the other in its ideologically anachronistic foreign policy, Algeria indulges in terminology games claiming that the African Union and the EU are in negotiation to change the appellation of the event into EU-AU Summit in a scheme to impose the participation of its puppet Sahrawi Republic.
The fake news was propagated by the Algerian government mouthpiece, Algeria Press Service news agency, which relayed the fallacious statements of its Ambassador in Brussels, Amar Belani, saying that the Polisario will receive an invitation to attend the EU-Africa summit.
Such statements show the short memory of the Algerian diplomacy, which seems not to learn from past mistakes. Sources within the EU maintain that only countries that are member of the UN are entitled to take part in the EU-Africa summit. No decision has been made to change the name of the event that will be hosted by Abidjan on November 29-30.
Posted by North Africa Post
North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.
Caitlin Dearing Scott
October 10, 2017
Morocco’s national soccer team, the Atlas Lions, moved to the top of Group C with a 3-0 win over Gabon on Saturday, coming one step closer to achieving its World Cup dreams for the first time since 1998. After missing a golden opportunity to claim the top of the table from Ivory Coast after the last match – a draw with Mali after Gabon’s stunning upset of the Ivory Coast – the Lions bounced back and now find themselves up one point over Ivory Coast in the Group. To qualify, they will need to win or draw against Ivory Coast at the November 11 match in Abidjan.
Speaking after the match, coach Hervé Renard said, “The team has lived up to the national jersey…The national team has recovered its effectiveness against Gabon thanks to the hat-trick of Khalid Boutaib, but also thanks to Casablanca public, which was wonderful.” Moroccan national star Hakim Ziyech echoed this sentiment, crediting the Moroccan public for its support of the team.
A win on the field would certainly support Morocco’s off-field ambitions of becoming a more prominent sports leader in Africa. In addition to bidding to host the 2026 World Cup and taking on a greater role in the Confederation of African Football, Morocco announced its bid to host the 2018 African Nations Championship late last month, after Kenya lost the right to host for being unprepared. In its bid, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation stated,
The decision of the Kingdom of Morocco to host this continental competition is part of the policy of openness towards African countries, guided by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, and whose pillar is to welcome the youth of the continent and contribute to its flourishing. Through its candidacy, Morocco puts the experiences and expertise it has accumulated in recent years at the disposal of the Confederation of African Football, in order to guarantee the success of this continental sports competition. Morocco is committed to putting all the necessary means and potentials to accommodate the selections to participate in this great football event, and provide adequate conditions of competition and excellence.
Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia also bid to host and a vote is expected in the coming days.
As for those dreams of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, fans in the Kingdom will have to wait another month.
The post Morocco keeps its World Cup dreams alive with a 3-0 win over Gabon – Caitlin Dearing Scott appeared first on Morocco On The Move.
Engineers in Morocco are preparing to test the Arab world’s first high-speed railway this week with trains reaching 320km/h, the country’s rail office said on Monday.
One train reached 275km/h on Monday along a stretch of track between the northern cities of Kenitra and Tangier, the ONCF said.
“This is already the fastest train on the African continent,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was in Morocco to sign a loan deal between the ONCF and the French Development Agency.
He said the railway was “emblematic of the Franco-Moroccan bilateral relationship”.
The 350km link between Casablanca and Tangiers via the capital Rabat will slash journey times between the North African country’s economic hubs by almost two thirds, to just over two hours.
Morocco’s TGV, which gets its name from the French abbreviation for high-speed trains, is set to enter service in summer 2018.
The project is 50% financed by France with loans of around $2.4bn.
It is set to go around 15% over budget, according to figures released on Monday.
But ONCF head Rabii Lakhlii said the project had cost “less than €9m/km, compared to a European standard of €20m/km”.
The route, made more complex by hilly terrain and strong winds, required the building of several viaducts including one about 3.5km long.
The ONCF expects the line to attract six million travellers within its first three years.
Lakhlii said tickets would cost about 30% more than those for the current rail link.
Moroccan leaders have heralded the project as a key step in modernising the country’s infrastructure.
But opponents have criticised it, saying the money could have been better spent in a country where many live in poverty.
They also argue that it unfairly favoured French companies.
The 17th edition of the Mawazine-Rythms of the World Festival will be held on June 22-30, 2018, in Rabat, the event's organizer Maroc Cultures Association announced on Tuesday.
As part of the country’s national energy strategy, Morocco has initiated several high profile solar powered desalination projects and is meeting its targets for installing renewable energy in place of expensive oil and gas imports. Its clean energy strategy is diversified, drawing on solar, wind, and hydroelectric projects to make the goal of 52% of the national energy needs by 2030 within sight.
Details are offered on the Solar-Desalination project announced in June. It is a BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) contract between Abengoa, a Spanish multinational financed jointly with the InfraMaroc investment fund. Since Morocco is one of the top 30 countries worldwide threatened by climate change, it cannot take its water resources for granted. The project, located in the southern Agadir region, will use solar power for desalination and irrigation and have a production capacity of 275,000 cubic meters (m3) of desalinated water per day, with an eventual capacity of 450,000 m3.
According to the latest report from the Oxford Business Group (OBG), “The plant will initially serve two clients, with 150,000 m3 allocated to the National Office of Electricity and Water Supply (ONEE), and 125,000 m3 going to the Ministry of Agriculture, Sea Fisheries, and Rural Development, to be used for irrigating 13,600 hectares of land. It is anticipated that with the necessary distribution infrastructure the plant will supply more than 2.3 million people with drinking water by 2030, 20% living in rural areas.” Abengoa will operate and maintain the plant for 27 years.
The energy-intensive facility will be entirely powered by the 580-MW Noor solar complex in Ouarzazate, located some 250 miles east of Agadir. This will be the second project of its kind in the Kingdom; the Aquasolar project, powered by photovoltaic (PV) and solar technology, has a capacity of 120,000 m3 a day. It was financed by Morocco’s Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies, and developed by the Universities of Moulay Ismail and Hassan II, along with Moroccan firm LSA Industrie and Spain’s Plataforma Solar de Almería.
Desalination capacity is on the rise, according to the OBG report: “The new plants are part of a growing number of desalination plants in the country. Other recent developments [using different technology] include two new seawater reverse osmosis plants, which came on-line in January in Boujdour, southern Morocco. The projects – conducted as public-private partnerships between ONEE and Saudi firm Abunayyan Holding subsidiary Wetico – produce 7000 m3 of drinking water per day.”
The government realizes the critical impact of the water supply — on the overall economy and the livelihoods of 35-40% of the workforce. In 2015, annual GDP growth decreased from 3% to 1.5% due to inadequate rainfall for agriculture, and it recovered to more than 4.3% in 2016 due to sufficient rain. “Thus, the desalination projects have become central to the government’s sustainability policies in recent years, as the depletion of water resources jeopardizes future water security,” according to the OBG report.
“In the last 30 years water supplies in Morocco have fallen by 15-30%, according to figures from ONEE. They are expected to drop even further by 10-15% in the run-up to 2020, due to rising demand and shorter supply. In 1960 rainfall amounted to 3500 m3 per inhabitant per year. In 2000 that figure was down to 1000 m3 and is now projected to decline to 490 m3 by 2020.”
Another alternative being used to secure a stable water supply is an innovative wastewater treatment plant in Laayoune to process 40% of southern Morocco’s wastewater for reuse in irrigation. The project falls under the country’s National Water Strategy, a $2.8 billion program that the government hopes will result in 140 wastewater treatment plants by 2020 and improve water yields by up to 96%.
In related energy news, the government has earmarked some $240 million specifically for solar power projects to support the agricultural sector. The strategy involves promoting the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation in order to expand access to agricultural water to 100,000 hectares of new land by 2021. Importantly, it will likely reduce the consumption of butane gas in farming operations, helping achieve the country’s clean energy goals.
The OBG report notes that “In 2009 Morocco generated just 1.7% of its electricity from renewables, but by last year this had risen to 34%,” well on its way to changing the energy power equation in the Kingdom. “The case for renewables in Morocco is compelling, given high solar irradiation and rising demand. The kingdom is among the sunniest countries in the world, with around 3000 hours of sunshine per year.”
Although solar power grabs the headlines, wind power is slated to provide the second largest share of renewable energy. Africa’s largest wind farm is located on the Atlantic Coast at Tarfaya in the south of Morocco, with an installed capacity of 300 MW, generating power for 1.5 million homes. While Morocco’s energy, agriculture, and water projects are ambitious, the King and government see them as critical to maintaining a viable economy and quality of life for Moroccans.
The post Business Blog: Update on Clean Energy Projects in Morocco – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.
HM King Mohammed VI and French President Emmanuel Macron share the same vision on Africa, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, said Monday in Rabat.
Fourth Committee Approves 19 Draft Resolutions as It Concludes General Debate on Decolonization Questions
Concluding its consideration of decolonization questions today, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved 19 draft resolutions for adoption by the General Assembly, 5 of them by recorded vote.
Taking up the draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.114), the Committee approved it by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Israel, Morocco, United Kingdom, United States), with 40 abstentions.
By the terms of that draft, the General Assembly would urge administering Powers to effectively safeguard and guarantee the inalienable rights of the peoples of the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories to their natural resources, and to establish and maintain control over the future development of those resources. The Assembly would, by other terms, call upon the administering Powers concerned to terminate military activities and eliminate military bases in the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories under their administration, in compliance with the relevant resolutions.
The Committee also approved a draft resolution titled “Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.42) by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom).
By that text, the General Assembly would request that the administering Powers concerned, in accordance with their Charter obligations, transmit or continue to transmit regularly to the Secretary‑General for information purposes, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to the economic, social and educational conditions in the Territories under their respective responsibility, within a maximum period of six months following the expiration of the administrative year in those Territories.
Also requiring a recorded vote was a draft resolution titled “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.47). The Committee approved it by a recorded 104 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 50 abstentions.
By its terms, the General Assembly would recommend that all States intensify their efforts, through United Nations specialized agencies and other entities, to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), and other relevant resolutions. It would also urge specialized agencies and organizations that had not yet provided assistance to Non‑Self‑Governing Territories to do so as soon as possible. Further by the text, the Assembly would request that the Secretary‑General continue to assist those agencies and organizations in working out appropriate implementation measures for relevant United Nations resolutions, and to prepare for submission to the relevant bodies a report on the implementation action taken.
Also today, the Committee approved — by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Rwanda, Togo) — a draft resolution titled “Dissemination of information on decolonization” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.112).
By that text, the General Assembly would — while stressing the importance of visiting missions of the Special Committee on Decolonization contributing substantially to the dissemination of information on decolonization — request that the Department of Public Information continue its efforts to update web‑based information on assistance programmes available to Non‑Self‑Governing Territories. It would also request that the Department of Political Affairs and the Department of Public Information implement the recommendations of the Special Committee on Decolonization and continue their efforts through all available media.
Acting without a vote, the Committee also approved draft resolutions on the following individual Non‑Self‑Governing Territories: Gibraltar, American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, French Polynesia, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands and the United States Virgin Islands.
The Assembly also approved, without a vote, a draft on Western Sahara, by which it would call upon parties and States of the region to cooperate with the Secretary‑General and his Personal Envoy in efforts to resolve the dispute over that Territory. It would also welcome the parties’ commitment to work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue, in order to enter into a more intensive phase of negotiations.
Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved a text on offers of study and training for inhabitants of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.
In other business today, the Committee concluded its general debate on decolonization issues, hearing from representatives of Vanuatu, Botswana, Morocco and Algeria.
The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 11 October, to begin its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
ODO TEVI (Vanuatu) said the fate of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories remained unresolved and expressed hope that their aspirations would be realized in the near future. Concerning New Caledonia, he noted that the proposed referendum on that Territory’s self‑determination under the Nouméa Accord was scheduled to take place in 2018, but 20,000 New Caledonians remained excluded from the electoral roll. On French Polynesia, he said his delegation would like to see it remain on the list of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories. Regarding Western Sahara, he said Vanuatu was in full support of the ongoing political process, which was exclusively under the oversight of the United Nations Secretary‑General.
EDGAR SISA (Botswana) expressed regret that despite the Secretary‑General’s efforts to resolve the Western Sahara question, the Sahrawi continued to be denied their inalienable right to self‑determination and independence. Emphasizing the importance of reviving the negotiation process and improving those people’s living conditions, he encouraged all parties to approach the negotiations in a spirit of tolerance, compromise and good faith. He also urged the international community to continue supporting efforts to hold the self‑determination referendum in that Territory, including by creating an environment conducive to the vote.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) called for the General Assembly to stop examining the issue of Western Sahara, thereby allowing his country to conduct the negotiation process leading to a mutually acceptable solution. The question was not one of decolonization, he emphasized, explaining that Morocco’s recovery of its territory from colonial Powers had been gradual and based on negotiated agreements. Recalling that the Frente Polisario had not existed in 1965, he said it thus could not claim any rights over Western Sahara. Algeria had only raised the principle of autonomy in order to prevent Morocco from recovering its territory, he said. General Assembly resolution 1541 stipulated that self‑determination could never apply to a part or region of a sovereign State, and usually applied only to a group that was ethnically and linguistically distinct from the administering State, he recalled. By contrast, Sahara was a geographic continuity of Morocco, Arabic was spoken there, Islam was practised, its culture and traditions were the same, and its tribes were aligned in allegiance to the Moroccan King.
He went on reiterate that Algeria had distorted the principle of self‑determination when it had insisted on a referendum in Western Sahara, pointing out that such a mechanism was not enshrined in General Assembly resolutions 1514 or 1541, and even less in resolution 2625, all of which constituted the cornerstones of that principle. “The option of a referendum is definitively a non‑starter for Sahara,” he emphasized, pointing out that for the past 17 years, the Security Council had decided that a political resolution through dialogue was preferable to a referendum. Regrettably, Morocco’s good faith efforts at negotiations had been met with intransigence by Algeria, which was responsible for the failure of peace efforts to date, he said, adding that Algeria remained opposed to a census in the Tindouf camps. That country must resume its full responsibility and sit at the negotiating table, a view that was shared by several envoys of the Secretary‑General, he said. Contrary to the despair of people in the Tindouf camps, Morocco offered hope in the southern provinces, he added.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) said that while his country’s name had been mentioned more than 40 times in the preceding statement, he would speak only about Western Sahara and not Morocco. Citing the United Nations Charter, he said “we tend to forget it, overlook it”, in reference to the need to respect other nations, the right to self‑determination and the right of people to choose their own government. It was with bitterness and frustration that the international community was still debating colonialism in 2017, he said, adding that it was also truly appalling that there were still 17 Non‑Self‑Governing Territories.
There could be no discussion over the merits of colonialism and domination, he continued, expressing hope that “there is some consciousness being built here”. He asked: “Are we going to celebrate colonialism in 50 years?” Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., he said: “The time is always right to do something right.” No difference of opinion on colonization could legitimately exist, he emphasized, urging the Fourth Committee and the General Assembly to speak up. Colonialism was a man‑made system that must be ended, he declared.
He went on to affirm that the dispute over Western Sahara was indeed a decolonization issue, describing it as the last unsolved question of colonialism in Africa, having been on the Committee’s agenda for more than 54 years. The legal status of Western Sahara “suffers no ambiguity,” he said, recalling that the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice concluded that there were no legal ties between Western Sahara and the two concerned neighbouring countries. All United Nations resolutions adopted by both the General Assembly and the Security Council reaffirmed, continuously and constantly, the legal nature of the conflict, he stressed, also citing various other United Nations and African Union resolutions and decisions on Western Sahara.
Welcoming the appointment of the Secretary‑General’s new Personal Envoy, he reaffirmed his country’s steadfast support for his efforts in moving the negotiating process forward. The African Union remained engaged in efforts to find a solution to the dispute, mobilizing African and United Nations efforts on the negotiating process and stressing the urgent need to address the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Western Sahara. Algeria remained committed to resolving the dispute, he said, emphasizing that there was no alternative to the United Nations doctrine on decolonization. Quoting José Martí, he declared: “We are free, but not to be evil, not to be indifferent to human suffering.” Addressing the Chair, he added: “I admire your fairness and commitment to treat everyone equally.” He requested that those remarks of praise, made publicly and directly, be noted in the meeting, as the press communiqué had suggested otherwise. “Our words are the ones you have heard and not the ones written,” he said.
Action on Draft Resolutions
Taking up several draft resolutions, the Committee Chair began by noting that, considering recent natural disasters, especially hurricanes, there was concern that the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories in the Caribbean region were not receiving enough attention. He therefore proposed postponing consideration of the draft resolution “Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of the Non‑Self‑Governing Territories” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.44), saying the Special Committee wished to discuss the inclusion of additional language to support those Territories given the extraordinary hurricane‑related events. There were no objections to that proposal.
Moving to take action on all 19 remaining draft resolutions, the Committee first approved a text on “Information from Non‑Self‑Governing Territories transmitted under Article 73 e of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.42) by a recorded vote of 153 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (France, United Kingdom).
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking in explanation of position, said her country continued to meet its obligations to its overseas Territories but believed that the decision as to whether Non‑Self‑Governing Territories had reached sufficient development for self‑determination was for that Territory and its administering Power and not for the General Assembly.
Taking up the draft resolution “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.47), the Committee approved it by a recorded 104 votes in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 50 abstentions.
The representative of the United Kingdom reaffirmed her delegation’s support for specialized agencies in the humanitarian, technology and other fields, but cautioned that the statutes of those agencies must be carefully respected. The United Kingdom had therefore abstained.
The representative of Argentina said the text should have been applied in accordance with the relevant decisions of the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and Special Committee on Decolonization.
The Committee then took up the draft resolution “Offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories” (document A/C.4/72/L.6).
The representative of Cuba, making a general statement, pointed out that only 9 out of 193 Member States had informed the Committee about any of their contributions to the development of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories, a matter that Cuba insisted needed greater attention. In addition to its timely response to the request for information, Cuba had sent an update in August, reporting on the numbers of graduates from Western Sahara who had been studying public health and other subjects in the country. Cuba had provided 38 fellowships in various specialities during the current academic year, and in spite of the consequences of the criminal and unjust trade blockade imposed on the country by the United States, the Government was making efforts to contribute further, he said, reiterating the need for greater attention to that subject.
The Committee then approved that draft resolution without a vote.
The Committee then took up the agenda item “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”, containing draft resolutions on each individual Non‑Self‑Governing Territory.
The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union on Western Sahara, welcomed the Secretary‑General’s commitment to relaunching the negotiating process in accordance with Charter principles, as well as the appointment of his Personal Envoy and the adoption of Security Council resolution 2351 (2017) to relaunch the political process. The parties must demonstrate the political will to enter the new negotiations in good faith and without preconditions, she said, welcoming the return of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to full functionality and urging the international community to provide it with critical resources and funding.
The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on the Gibraltar question, expressed great regret that the Special Committee on Decolonization continued its outdated approach, failing to take into account the ways in which the United Kingdom had modernized its relationship with its overseas Territories. Those living there had all freely chosen to retain their link with the United Kingdom, she emphasized.
The Committee then took up the draft resolutions relating to the following individual Territories: Western Sahara (document A/C.4/72/L.5*); Gibraltar (document A/C.4/72/L.7); American Samoa (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.52); Anguilla (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.57); Bermuda (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.61); British Virgin Islands (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.65); Cayman Islands (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.69); French Polynesia (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.73); Montserrat (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.81); Pitcairn (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.91); Saint Helena (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.95); Tokelau (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.99); Turks and Caicos Islands (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.102); and the United States Virgin Islands (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.107).
It approved them all without a vote.
The Chair noted that action on the New Caledonia and Guam draft resolutions had been postponed in order to add statements delivered during the hearing of petitioners, expressing hope that the task would be completed in a timely manner. Going through each draft resolution may seem repetitive, but it was a good method which must remain, he said.
The Committee then took up the draft “Dissemination of information on decolonization” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.112), approving it by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Rwanda, Togo).
The representative of the United Kingdom, in explanation of position, said that placing the obligation to publish decolonization issues on the Secretariat represented an unacceptable drain on United Nations resources.
The representative of Argentina said that, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, the text under consideration should be applied according to previous relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Special Committee. All pronouncements on the Malvinas qualified it as a special and particular situation, representing a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom as the only parties. Therefore, the only way to resolve the dispute would be a renewal of bilateral negotiations to reach a fair solution, he emphasized.
Finally, the Committee took up the draft resolution “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” (document A/72/23, chapter XIII, p.114).
The representative of Australia said his country was a strong supporter of the right of the peoples of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories to self‑determination and had consistently supported the draft in previous sessions. Regrettably, however, Australia would now vote against the text because its operative paragraph 14 called for terminating military activities and closing military bases and could not be accepted, he said. Such activities need not contradict the interests of peoples of the Territories, and in many cases they were beneficial, he said, citing the Pacific region, where France, Australia and New Zealand coordinated forces and fought transnational crime and illegal fishing. Australia looked forward to the removal of that language from future iterations of the draft resolution so that it could continue to vote in its favour.
The Committee then approved the text by a recorded vote of 107 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Israel, Morocco, United Kingdom, United States), with 40 abstentions.
The representative of the United Kingdom said her country continued to find some elements of the text unacceptable and had again voted against it. Despite that vote, however, the United Kingdom remained committed to modernizing its relationship with its overseas Territories.
The representative of Spain said her country had abstained, but that did not mean it did not support the principle of self‑determination. However, that was not the only relevant principle on decolonization issues, she said, noting that in the case of sovereignty disputes, such as Gibraltar, territorial integrity was also relevant. She added that visiting missions could only be sent to Territories to which the self‑determination principle applied, not where there were sovereignty disputes. Any such mission must be approved by the General Assembly, she stressed.
The representative of Argentina said that visiting missions only proceeded where free determination applied and where there was no dispute over sovereignty, emphasizing that the Special Committee was clear on that matter. Visiting missions must be considered on a case‑by‑case basis and take place in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions, he said, emphasizing that if a visiting mission were to take place, it must be approved by the General Assembly.
The representative of Belgium said her country was a strong supporter of the rights of the peoples of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories, and its abstention was due to its concern about operative paragraph 14 on military activities, which were especially important during natural catastrophes.
The representative of the United States spoke in explanation of position on several draft resolutions, saying her delegation was proud to support the right to self‑determination, but the texts under consideration placed too much weight on independence as a one‑size-fits-all option.
The Territories could speak for themselves, he emphasized. In addition, operative paragraph 14 of the draft “Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples” included an outdated call for the termination of all military activities and bases in Non‑Self‑Governing Territories, she noted. The United States had a right to carry out such activities in its own interest and it was facile to assume that they were incompatible with the rights of the people of those Territories. The long‑standing view of the United States was that the right of self‑determination was to be exercised by the whole people of a Non‑Self‑Governing Territory, not just one part, she said, adding that that right must be consistent with human rights obligations and non‑discrimination as well as universal and equal suffrage.
 A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).
For information media. Not an official record.
Morocco's Embassy in Brussels Protests Against Remarks of Belgian State Secretary for Migration on Human Rights in Morocco
The Moroccan embassy in Brussels strongly protested against the remarks of Belgian secretary of state for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken, who mentioned, in an interview published Saturday in the Belgian press, Morocco among "countries where human rights are not respected".
"The embassy of Morocco in Belgium expresses its strong protests and deep indignation following the statements of Belgian secretary of state for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken," said a clarification addressed to the Belgian Foreign ministry.
Morocco plays a key role in promoting athletics in Africa, said, on Sunday, chairman of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hamad Kalkaba Malboum, noting that the fact of choosing the Kingdom to host the 27th Congress of the Confederation (October 9-10) is due to its efforts to develop and promote athletics on the African continent.
Australia has developed an ambitious agenda to promote trade relations with Morocco, said, Sunday in Marrakech, Australian minister of Trade, Investment and Tourism, Steven Ciobo.
Speaking at an official ceremony to launch the Australia Morocco Business Council (AMBC), Ciobo said the Council has enabled to identify key sectors likely to promote economic cooperation between the two countries.
"These include the sectors of tourism, mining, renewable energy and agribusiness," he said, stressing the importance of creating the AMBC in promoting bilateral ties.
Australian trade minister, Steven Ciobo, will participate on October 9 and 10, 2017, in the WTO meeting in Marrakech.
“At the Marrakesh meeting, we will discuss priorities and prospects for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11), to be held in Buenos Aires in December,” Ciobo said in a press release.
“I will attend a meeting of ministers from the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries to support Australian farmers by progressing our goal of levelling the playing field in international agricultural trade,” he added.
Morocco and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe signed, on Friday, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote cooperation in administrative areas.
The agreement was signed in Venice by Minister Delegate for the Reform of Administration and Public Service and Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio, in the presence of Morocco’s ambassador to Italy, Hassan Abouyoub.
Under the MoU, the two parties will implement joint projects, including a capacity-building programme for high-level civil servants of the MENA region.
A memorandum on cooperation in the field of the fight against torture was signed, on Friday in Rabat, between the ministry of Justice and the Danish institute against torture DIGNITY within the framework of the Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP).
The agreement, inked by minister of Justice Mohamed Aujjar and DIGNITY Director General, Karin Verland, marks the start of the official cooperation between the two sides in the fields of justice administration, rehabilitation and prevention of torture.