Friday, January 20, 2012

Saad-Eddine El Othmani: Morocco's Minister Of Foreign Affairs

The new face of Moroccan diplomacy is Saad-Eddine Othmani. Born in 1956 in Inezgane near Agadir he earned a Doctorate in Medicine from the Hassan II University of Casablanca in 1986, and in psychiatry in 1994. He also holds Master and DEA degrees in Islamic studies. In 2004, and after the withdrawal from politics of Abdelkrim Alkhatib, Saad- Eddine Othmani became the head of the Justice and Development Party. 

Out with the old and in with the new. Saad-Eddine El Othmani (left) with previous foreign minister Taieb Fassi Fihri 
Back on January the 9th the new foreign minister made his first media appearance and used the occasion to outline Morocco's foreign policy priorities. He appeared relaxed with the media attention and allowed plenty of time for photographers to get the shots they needed. It was a confident start, prompting Le Soir to headline: El Othmani, l’homme de la situation - El Othami, the man for the job.
"We have responsibilities to establish and strengthen our ties with the Arab Maghreb Union and the Mediterranean" 
 The first priority for the minister is the Maghreb Union  "We must bring about the rebirth of the structures of the Arab Maghreb Union. All the conditions are now right to breathe new life into this organisation, which was founded in Marrakech in 1989 and whose activities have been frozen." The Maghrebia website reports that according to El Othmani, the Tunisian and Libyan revolutions have paved the way for "Maghreb integration at every level".
"The four main orientations of Morocco's foreign policy: the Maghreb, the Arab world, Africa and other partners" - Saad-Eddine El Othmani
While there had been concerns that an Islamist government would take a conservative stance, these fears were allayed by the foreign minister who made it clear that the new government would follow the kingdom's general foreign policy trends. "We shall remain faithful to all the promises we have made internationally, as well as the conventions and protocols which Morocco has signed," El Othmani announced.


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