Italy, Morocco hold talks on Libya

Italy, Morocco hold talks on Libya
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates Nasser Bourita during a meeting on Libya. (Maroc Diplomatique)
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Updated 08 October 2020

Italy, Morocco hold talks on Libya

Italy, Morocco hold talks on Libya
  • Moroccans are currently the largest non-EU immigrant community in Italy
  • Italy and Tunisia welcomed the international initiatives under the UN process

ROME: Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has praised “the dynamic of openness, progress and modernity” advocated by the King of Morocco Mohammed VI.

During a meeting in Rome with Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, Di Maio stressed “the need for regional and international parties to work together to help the Libyans find a lasting political settlement.”

In a press conference at the Italian Ministry of Foreign affairs, the Italian foreign minister also praised Morocco for its support of the process of implementation of advanced status in its relations with the EU, as well as the follow-up of the Morocco-EU action plan.

Both foreign ministers agreed to “continue to work for the strengthening of the privileged partnership between Morocco and the EU within the framework of an ambitious strategic vision.”

According to the joint statement issued at the end of the official visit, Luigi Di Maio “welcomed the course set by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in a dynamic of open progress and modernity, through the design of an adapted and renewed development model and the promotion of advanced regionalization.”

Noting “the depth and quality of the ties of friendship and mutual respect that unite Morocco and Italy, as well as the positive dynamics of bilateral relations,” the two ministers welcomed the prospect of the “multidimensional strategic partnership between Morocco and Italy.”

They agreed to establish appropriate mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation, namely a partnership council at ministerial level and cooperation committees on priority issues.

Both parties confirmed their commitment to deepen economic and commercial collaboration between the two countries, an instrument of growth and friendly relations, and confirmed their intention to organize as soon as possible a “business forum to facilitate contacts and agreements between companies and economic institutions of both countries.”

The forum should take place next year, on the 30th anniversary of the agreement signed in 1991 on friendship and cooperation between Morocco and Italy.

Bourita and Di Maio noted “with mutual appreciation the important contributions of the communities of both countries in terms of economic, cultural and human contribution, and as active actors of Moroccan-Italian cooperation and factor to bring together the two countries.”

After recalling that Italy is the fifth trading partner of Morocco and the fifth provider of tourists, Bourita said that “Morocco’s ambition is to further strengthen our partnership.”

Moroccans are currently the largest non-EU immigrant community in Italy. Moroccans in Italy mainly live in the north: In Lombardy, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna, the regions suffering the highest death tolls due to COVID-19.

It is an economically active community — 20 percent of the Moroccan community is composed of entrepreneurs.

In the previous legislature, Italy’s Parliament included two MPs of Moroccan origin. Many Moroccans are doctors who have been working in Italian hospitals to combat COVID-19.

Libya was one of the main issues discussed at the bilateral meeting. Both ministers, Italian diplomatic sources told Arab News, stressed the “need for regional and international parties to work together to help the Libyans find a lasting political settlement.”

Italy and Tunisia welcomed the international initiatives under the UN process, particularly the meetings held in Bouznika, Morocco, in September and October 2020.

“They testify to the constructive role that Morocco is playing for the resolution of this crisis,” the same source said.

“On Libya in particular, we have seen a real convergence of views and positions,” Bourita said. “Morocco greatly appreciates the constant, constructive and positive attitude of Italy on the Libyan issue, as Italy has always worked to preserve the stability and unity of Libya, which is a fundamental objective for us,” he said.


Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Updated 02 December 2020

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park

Pygmies, soldier killed in clashes over DR Congo park
  • In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the perimeter of Kahuzi-Biega National Park and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal
  • According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the habitat of endangered gorillas

BUKAVU, DR Congo: Three Pygmies and a soldier were killed in clashes near DR Congo’s Kahuzi-Biega National Park, military sources and local officials said Wednesday, as calls grow for protection of the country’s indigenous peoples.
The national park, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on Monday, is a haven for critically endangered gorillas but faces an emerging threat from a conflict between rangers and local Pygmies, who claim they were robbed of ancestral lands when the park was extended in the 1970s.
The central African country’s parliament is currently considering a law to guarantee the rights of Pygmies.
Clashes erupted on Monday in the nearby village of Kabamba in South Kivu province, military sources and the territory’s administrator Thadee Miderho said Wednesday.
In addition to the four killed, others were wounded, they said.
The Pygmies wanted to retrieve bags of charcoal seized by the military, according to Miderho.
In 2018, Pygmies began to move onto land inside the park’s perimeter and started to cut down trees, mainly to make charcoal.
According to park authorities, Pygmies have destroyed vast acres of woodland — an act of deforestation that gnaws away at the gorillas’ habitat.
Their return led to open conflict between Pygmies and rangers in which people on both sides have been killed.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park celebrated 50 years of existence on Monday, priding itself as “a sanctuary and refuge” of eastern lowland gorillas.
Meanwhile a civil society group in the territory of Kabare wrote an open letter to UNESCO asking for it to help “save” the Pygmies.
“Fifty years later, the existence of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park = 50 years of suffering of our Pygmies brothers and sisters,” the group wrote.
In the capital Kinshasa, the National Assembly passed a bill on November 26 for the “protection and promotion of the rights of the indigenous Pygmy peoples,” which will now be considered by the Senate.
“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, unlike other indigenous ethnic groups, the Pygmies have not always received special attention as an indigenous group,” parliament acknowledged in a memorandum.
The proposed law guarantees the recognition of the culture of the Pygmies, easy access to justice and social services, and “full access to the land.”