Moroccan official stresses economic reasons behind conflicts in mediterranean

Arabic News, 21 September 2000

Speaker of the Moroccan house of representatives, Abdelouahed Radi, said in Lisbon Friday risks of conflicts in the Mediterranean region are mainly economic.

The Moroccan official, who started Tuesday a three-day visit to Portugal at the head of a parliamentary delegation, told members of the foreign affairs committee at the Portuguese parliament, stability in countries of the south requires an effort of international solidarity.

Answering questions by Portuguese legislators, Radi said security in the Mediterranean must be preserved through dialogue and a global and rational policy.

He added that the only threat to peace in the region is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is protracted due to Israel's adamant stances and its refusal to accept the existence of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem (Al-Quds) as its capital and the return of refugees.

Regarding immigration, he stressed that it is a traditional phenomenon in the Mediterranean region and it is today intensified by poverty and the demand for cheap labor which help European firms prosper and maintain good competitiveness.

He insisted that assistance to development should be seen as an investment in the stability of both northern and southern countries of the Mediterranean which should become a space of peace and shared prosperity.

On Tuesday, Radi reviewed with Portuguese foreign minister, Jaime Gama, issues related to the consolidation of bilateral cooperation and development of a genuine economic partnership between the two Mediterranean countries. Morocco-European Union relations were also brought up.

He is scheduled to meet other Portuguese officials, including prime minister, Antonio Guterres and former president Mario Soares.