by David Brewin

The main event in the diplomatic calendar in Tanzania recently has been the three-day State Visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco accompanied by a large delegation from October 24th, 2016.

From the Moroccan point of view, the aim was to step up support for this country to re-join the African Union (AU), from which it parted company some years ago, following the recognition by all African states of the Sahrawi Arab Republic, as the legitimate successor to the former Spanish protectorate of Morocco.

The withdrawal of Spain from all but two small enclaves in Morocco has been the subject of repeated tensions between the AU and Morocco ever since Morocco seized most of the country the country in the 1970s following the end of the Spanish Protectorate. President Nyerere had been a staunch opponent of Morocco’s actions in the region, and personally led diplomatic efforts to reached a negotiated settlement in the 1980s that culminated in Morocco’s departure from the OAU. As recently as 2013, Tanzania’s position remained largely unchanged, with Foreign Minister Bernard Membe urging the Moroccan government to return to the negotiating table and conduct a long-promised referendum on the region’s future.

From the current Tanzanian point of view, the Government was happy to sign 21 agreements in such areas as agriculture, natural gas, energy, minerals, science and technology, tourism, insurance and export processing zones.

The Moroccan Monarch promised to support Tanzania’s renewable energy sector, private partnerships and the tourism sector.

The King asked if he could extend his visit by one night, during which he visited a national park. The newly re-established Air Tanzania Limited will also have permission to launch direct flights between Dar es Salaam and Casablanca.

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