Morocco will host the first Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States

The meeting will take place on 8 June in Rabat

 -   Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister

Morocco is the host country for the first Ministerial Meeting of the African Atlantic States, which will be held on 8 June in Rabat. The meeting will be attended by 21 countries from the African Atlantic coast, including some 15 represented at ministerial level, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Resident Abroad.

This first summit is seen as an opportunity to devise a common African vision in this area of vital importance to the continent. Promoting an Atlantic African identity and unilaterally defending the continent's strategic interests are other objectives that the high-level meeting is expected to achieve, according to a press release issued by the ministry.

The talks at this meeting will revolve around three main themes: "Political Dialogue, Security and Safety", "Blue Economy and Connectivity" and "Environment and Energy".

PHOTO/AP - African Union (AU) Summit session at Addis Ababa headquarters

Morocco's initiative to host the meeting once again underlines the Kingdom's commitment to emphasising the strategic value of the Atlantic and its desire to see all countries bordering both sides of the Ocean unite around common principles and opportunities to form a new shared identity. In order to prepare properly for the ministerial event, a meeting of senior officials was held yesterday, Tuesday 7 June.

Until now, the focus has not been on the point of union that the Atlantic Ocean represents for the countries located on the African coasts; however, there are common cultural and historical elements between the countries, for example, their past as slaves in the service of great powers such as Spain, or mixed races. The African Atlantic is made up of: Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Gabon, People's Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa, as well as the island territories of Madeira, Canary Islands, St. Helena and Ascension. But not all of these countries will attend the meeting.

The 24 countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean represent a considerable number of countries compared to the 57 that make up the continent as a whole. The Ministerial Meeting of Atlantic African States is the first step towards uniting African countries around the Atlantic Ocean, which already serves as a nucleus in Europe and America, two continents where some seas such as the Caribbean articulate supra-state regional policies, NATO being the best known.

AFP/FADEL SENNA - Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco

By hosting the Ministerial Meeting of Atlantic African states, Morocco is taking another step on its path to open up to the world regionally and beyond the continent. This event adds to the long list of activities in which Morocco wants to play the role of host, including its bid to host the 2026 football World Cup, which was unsuccessful in the end. In the military field, Morocco is also seeking to become a country of reference, and the African Lion manoeuvres are already taking place for the second time on its territory, a military exercise in which African countries and countries from outside the continent, such as the United States, are taking part.