Nasser Bourita, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs: “The Tangier Dialogue must become an annual event to propose innovative ideas”

In a speech marking the launch of the Tangier Dialogue, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita urged participants to go beyond “brainstorming” and come up with concrete proposals. He expressed his hope that the Tangier Dialogue would become an annual meeting where intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and thinkers gather to make a difference, reflecting on real and tangible change.

Minister Bourita said in his opening speech, “Tangier, straddling two continents, two shores and two seas, has always been the crossroads and the link. It has always kept its eyes on the horizon and its soul open to the other. It was from here that Ibn Battouta set out to discover the world. It was to Tangier that Matisse and Delacroix came to find the glow of light and the flash of genius.”

The Minister praised Project Aladdin for its work and noted, “Project Aladdin has many strengths, one expression of which is the organization of this kind of meeting. But its actions go beyond that, and its impact can also be more profound. Indeed, Morocco’s commitment to Project Aladdin is a commitment rooted in its origins. At the launch of Project Aladdin, in 2009, His Majesty King Mohammed VI courageously named the unspeakable and vigorously rejected Holocaust denial in his message to the conference. Since then, Morocco has continued to support Project Aladdin, including by remaining faithful to its spirit and active in its Board of Directors. In this regard, I salute the discreet but effective commitment of Mr. André Azoulay, Advisor to His Majesty the King.”

“Project Aladdin has come to crystallize a long-standing Moroccan commitment: the same commitment that was expressed through the protection of our fellow Jewish citizens by the late HM Mohammed V, against xenophobia and Nazism. The same commitment that was expressed through the spirit of brotherhood and openness cultivated by HM Hassan II between Jews and Muslims throughout the world. The same commitment that is expressed today, and for more than two decades, through the commitment of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, to integrate the Hebrew tributary into the Moroccan Constitution and to enhance and safeguard the national Jewish heritage.”

Minister Bourita called on the participants at the Tangier Dialogue to transcend brainstorming and take active responsibility for the subjects under discussion. He noted that in the post-pandemic world, there is already more emphasis on winning and less on convincing. “Zero-sum games are being introduced as victory instructions, instead of mutual success as the rule of the game. There is a lot of talk about sovereignty, sacrificing collective security on the altar of individual sovereignty, as if the two were exclusive. Violence is revived as a mode of regulation: violence in language; violence in actions; violence to the point of war.”

Referring to the ambition of the Tangier Dialogue to seek a path to a new, shared Enlightenment, the Minister noted that the Age of Enlightenment was also the era of the rise of modern diplomacy and urged that “diplomatic time” become “geopolitical” again, and not just “political”. He gave the example of Morocco’s “patient but visionary diplomatic construction” in Africa, the Middle East and on multilateral and global issues to show that “Enlightenment diplomacy” is a “long-distance race.”

Minister Bourita noted that in Morocco, “religion must be a bulwark against extremism and not its pretext.” He said the Kingdom’s efforts to train religious preachers all over Africa were aimed at promoting “an Islam of moderation, of the Middle Way.”

Finally, Minister Bourita urged the participants to see how there could be a “reset” in the relations between the West and the Muslim countries.

“The Enlightenment is special in that it has never ceased to inspire humanity,” the Minister concluded. “The challenge of the Tangier Dialogue is to put the Enlightenment back on the contemporary agenda. May Tangier carry this ambition high: that of a better world, where the Enlightenment, wherever it comes from, leaves no one in the dark or in the shadow.”